French Proverbs

Modern French society is a melting pot. From the middle of the 19th century, it experienced a high rate of inward migration, mainly consisting of Arab-Berbers, Jews, Sub-Saharan Africans, Chinese, and other peoples from Africa, the Middle East and East Asia, and the government, defining France as an inclusive nation with universal values, advocated assimilation through which immigrants were expected to adhere to French values and cultural norms.

A collection of French Proverbs to inspire you. Wise French sayings in the form of proverbs that have been passed down for generations. Many of these are inspirational and contain famous words that can still apply today.

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A bad bush is better than an open field. – French Proverbs

A bad sheerer never had a good sickle. – French Proverbs

A bad workman blames his tools. – French Proverbs

A big nose never spoiled a handsome face. – French Proverbs

A black hen lays a white egg. – French Proverbs

A closed mouth catches no flies. – French Proverbs

A drowning man clings to a blade of grass. – French Proverbs

A father is a banker provided by nature. – French Proverbs

A fine cage won’t feed the bird. – French Proverbs

A fool is always beginning. – French Proverbs

A girl unemployed is thinking of mischief. – French Proverbs

A good deed is not without reward. – French Proverbs

A good husband should be deaf and a good wife blind. – French Proverbs

A good meal should begin with hunger. – French Proverbs

A good swordsman is never quarrelsome. – French Proverbs

A great estate is not gotten in a few hours. – French Proverbs

A great fortune in the hands of a fool is a great misfortune. – French Proverbs

A great talker is a great liar. – French Proverbs

A healthy man is a successful man. – French Proverbs

A hedge between keeps friendship green. – French Proverbs

A hundred years of idleness are not worth one hour well employed. – French Proverbs

A late Easter, a long cold spring. – French Proverbs

A liar should have a good memory. – French Proverbs

A lie travels round the world while truth is putting her boots on. – French Proverbs

A person’s reputation is like his shadow—sometimes it follows and sometimes it precedes him; and sometimes it is smaller and sometimes it is bigger than he is. – French Proverbs

A rich man has more relatives than he knows about. – French Proverbs

A silver hammer breaks an iron door. – French Proverbs

A small fire that warms you is better than a large one that burns you. – French Proverbs

A summer’s sun is worth the having. – French Proverbs

A teacher stands in fear of teaching. – French Proverbs

A tender-hearted mother makes a scabby daughter. – French Proverbs

A thing too much seen is little prized. – French Proverbs

A throne is only a bench covered with velvet. – French Proverbs

A true gentleman will respect a woman even in her weakness. – French Proverbs

A wet May was never kind yet. – French Proverbs

A white Christmas fills the churchyard. – French Proverbs

A white wall is the fool’s paper. – French Proverbs

A wise fox will never rob his neighbour’s hen roost. – French Proverbs

A woman is no older than she looks. – French Proverbs

A woman laughs when she can and weeps when she pleases. – French Proverbs

A year of snow, a year of plenty. – French Proverbs

A young doctor brings a green churchyard. – French Proverbs

Adversity is the touchstone of friendship. – French Proverbs

After one loss comes many. – French Proverbs

After the acting, the wishing is in vain. – French Proverbs

All the treasures of earth cannot bring back one lost moment. – French Proverbs

All things come to those who wait. – French Proverbs

An enemy does not sleep. – French Proverbs

And old rat is a brave rat. – French Proverbs

Anger is a bad counselor. – French Proverbs

Appetite comes with eating. – French Proverbs

Autumn is the hush before winter. – French Proverbs

Bad news has wings. – French Proverbs

Bear wealth, poverty will bear itself. – French Proverbs

Bear with evil and expect good. – French Proverbs

Beauty and folly are often companions. – French Proverbs

Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow. – French Proverbs

Better be envied than pitied. – French Proverbs

Better buy than borrow. – French Proverbs

Better to prevent than to cure. – French Proverbs

Between the word and the deed there is a long step. – French Proverbs

Between two stools one sits on the ground. – French Proverbs

Bring up a raven and he will peck out your eyes. – French Proverbs

Cats like man are flatterers. – French Proverbs

Children are what they are made. – French Proverbs

Communities begin by building their kitchen. – French Proverbs

Comparison is not proof. – French Proverbs

Courtesy that is all on one side cannot last long. – French Proverbs

Desperate ills require desperate remedies. – French Proverbs

Do not find fault with what you do not understand. – French Proverbs

Do not make two devils of one. – French Proverbs

Do not rely on the label of the bag. – French Proverbs

Do not strip before bedtime. – French Proverbs

Do not talk about a rope in the house of someone whose father was hung. – French Proverbs

Don’t bark if you can’t bite. – French Proverbs

Don’t find fault with what you don’t understand. – French Proverbs

Don’t imitate the fly before you have wings. – French Proverbs

Don’t snap your fingers at the dogs before you are out of the village. – French Proverbs

Don’t imitate the fly before you have wings. – French Proverbs

Early ripe, early rotten. – French Proverbs

Easy to say is hard to do. – French Proverbs

Envy goes beyond avarice. – French Proverbs

Envy takes no holiday. – French Proverbs

Every bee’s honey is sweet. – French Proverbs

Every one bears his cross. – French Proverbs

Every rose has its thorn. – French Proverbs

Everyone takes his pleasure where he finds it. – French Proverbs

Everyone thinks his own burden is heavy. – French Proverbs

Everyone to his taste. – French Proverbs

Everything in time comes to him who knows how to wait. – French Proverbs

Everything passes; everything wears out; everything breaks. – French Proverbs

Example is the greatest of all seducers. – French Proverbs

Feather by feather the goose can be plucked. – French Proverbs

Fools go in throngs. – French Proverbs

Fortune favors the innocent.

Fortune helps him who’s willing to help himself. – French Proverbs

Fortune is a woman; if you neglect her today do not expect to regain her tomorrow. – French Proverbs

Fortune is blind, but not invisible. – French Proverbs

Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age. – French Proverbs

Foxes come at last to the furrier’s. – French Proverbs

Fresh fish and new-come guests smell when they are three days old. – French Proverbs

Friends are lost by calling often and calling seldom. – French Proverbs

Friends are lost by calling too often and by not calling often enough. – French Proverbs

From short pleasure long repentance. – French Proverbs

From word to deed is a great space. – French Proverbs

Gambling is the son of avarice and the father of despair. – French Proverbs

Garlic by the savour, bread by the colour. – French Proverbs

Glutton: one who digs his grave with his teeth. – French Proverbs

God gives the cold according to the cloth.French Proverbs

God heals, and the physician takes the fee. – French Proverbs

God helps those who help themselves. – French Proverbs

Good advice is often annoying, bad advice never. – French Proverbs

Goodness is the only investment that never fails. – French Proverbs

Gratitude is the heart’s memory. – French Proverbs

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. – French Proverbs

Great thieves hang the little ones. – French Proverbs

Haste makes waste. – French Proverbs

He cannot be a friend to any one who is his own enemy. – French Proverbs

He gains enough who loses sorrow. – French Proverbs

He is a great fool who forgets himself. – French Proverbs

He is past preaching who does not care to do well. – French Proverbs

He may lie boldly who comes from afar. – French Proverbs

He sleeps securely who has nothing to lose. – French Proverbs

He that has not money in his purse should have honey in his mouth. – French Proverbs

He that is born to be hanged shall never be drowned. – French Proverbs

He that spares vice wrongs virtue. – French Proverbs

He that will get the better of a fox must rise early. – French Proverbs

He that will not endure the bitter, will not live to see the sweet. – French Proverbs

He who begins and does not finish loses his labor. – French Proverbs

He who can govern a woman can govern a nation. – French Proverbs

He who cannot work out his salvation by heart will not do it by book. – French Proverbs

He who carries nothing loses nothing. – French Proverbs

He who curbs his desires will always be rich enough. – French Proverbs

He who does not gain loses. – French Proverbs

He who excuses himself accuses himself. – French Proverbs

He who fears to suffer, suffers from fear. – French Proverbs

He who fondles you more than usual has either deceived you, or wishes to do so. – French Proverbs

He who is near the church is often far from God. – French Proverbs

He who judges between two friends loses one of them. – French Proverbs

He who recovers but the tail of his cow does not lose all. – French Proverbs

He who survives will see the outcome. – French Proverbs

He who threatens is afraid. – French Proverbs

He would sink a ship freighted with crucifixes. – French Proverbs

Hope is the dream of a soul awake. – French Proverbs

Hope is the dream of the waking man. – French Proverbs

Hunger drives the wolf from the wood. – French Proverbs

I have so much to do, that I am going to bed. – French Proverbs

I know by mine own pot how others boil. – French Proverbs

I love my friends—but I love myself more. – French Proverbs

If the doctor cures, the sun sees it; but if he kills, the earth hides it. – French Proverbs

If the young only knew; if the old only could. – French Proverbs

If you want the truth, ask a child. – French Proverbs

If you want to totally avoid being deceived, get married on February 30th. – French Proverbs

Impossible isn’t French. – French Proverbs

In love, there is always one who kisses and one who offers the cheek. – French Proverbs

In wine there is truth. – French Proverbs

Ingratitude is a kind of weakness, clever men are not ungrateful. – French Proverbs

Iron may be rubbed so long that it gets heated. – French Proverbs

It is a double pleasure to deceive the deceiver. – French Proverbs

It is a stupid goose that listens to the fox preach. – French Proverbs

It is all one whether you are bit by a dog or a bitch. – French Proverbs

It is by believing in roses that one brings them to bloom. – French Proverbs

It is in hating vice that we strengthen ourselves in the love of virtue. – French Proverbs

It is not enough to run, one must start in time. – French Proverbs

It is only the tree loaded with fruit that the people throw stones. – French Proverbs

Justifying a fault doubles it. – French Proverbs

French Proverbs

Late is worth more than never – French Proverbs

Learning is there for every man. – French Proverbs

Let him who is cold blow the fire. – French Proverbs

Let not your shirt know your thinking. – French Proverbs

Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas. – French Proverbs

Life is an onion which one peels crying. – French Proverbs

Life is half spent before one knows what life is. – French Proverbs

Life is made up of tomorrows. – French Proverbs

Life is never long enough for a coquette. – French Proverbs

Link by link the coat of mail is made. – French Proverbs

Love Bertrand, love his dog. – French Proverbs

Love can be a violent emotions for some. – French Proverbs

Love does wonders, but money makes marriage. – French Proverbs

Love is the dawn of marriage, and marriage is the sunset of love. – French Proverbs

Love makes the time pass. Time makes love pass. – French Proverbs

Love makes the world go round. – French Proverbs

Love makes time pass; time makes love pass. – French Proverbs

Love me little, love me long. – French Proverbs

Love subdues everything, except the felon heart. – French Proverbs

Love teaches even asses to dance. – French Proverbs

Make yourself a sheep and the wolf will eat you. – French Proverbs

Man is not man, but a wolf to those he does not know. – French Proverbs

Many a one is good because he can do no mischief. – French Proverbs

Many come to church to air their finery. – French Proverbs

Marriage is a lottery. – French Proverbs

Married today, marred tomorrow. – French Proverbs

Men count up the faults of those who keep them waiting. – French Proverbs

Mingle just a little folly with your wisdom. – French Proverbs

Money borrowed is soon sorrowed. – French Proverbs

Money is a good servant but a bad master. – French Proverbs

Money is round; it must roll. – French Proverbs

No dish pleases all palates alike. – French Proverbs

No gulls, no luck. – French Proverbs

No love without bread and wine. – French Proverbs

No one is expected to achieve the impossible. – French Proverbs

No one will get a bargain he does not ask for.French Proverbs

No rose without a thorn. – French Proverbs

Not every sort of wood is fit to make an arrow. – French Proverbs

Nothing is as burdensome as a secret. – French Proverbs

Nothing is impossible to a willing heart. – French Proverbs

Nothing is so burdensome as a secret. – French Proverbs

Old reckonings breed new disputes. – French Proverbs

One barber shaves another. – French Proverbs

One beggar at the door is enough. – French Proverbs

One can go a long way after one is tired. – French Proverbs

One dog’s piss will not pollute the ocean. – French Proverbs

One flower will not make a garland. – French Proverbs

One half of the world laughs at the other. – French Proverbs

One hour’s sleep before midnight is better than three after it. – French Proverbs

One learns by failing. – French Proverbs

One may go a long way after one is tired. – French Proverbs

One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it. – French Proverbs

One must lose a minnow to catch a salmon. – French Proverbs

One must step back to make the better leap. – French Proverbs

One-half of the world laughs at the other half. – French Proverbs

Only great men may have great faults. – French Proverbs

Only he who does nothing makes no mistakes. – French Proverbs

Paris was not built/made in a day. – French Proverbs

Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet. – French Proverbs

People count up the faults of those who keep them waiting. – French Proverbs

Pluck a goose without making it scream. – French Proverbs

Politicians are like weather vanes. – French Proverbs

Promising and performing are two things. – French Proverbs

Rats desert a sinking ship. – French Proverbs

Remember that everyone you ever meet is sure to fear something, to love something, and to have lost something. – French Proverbs

Riches run after the rich, and poverty runs after the poor. – French Proverbs

Rome wasn’t built in a day. – French Proverbs

Set your sail according to the wind. – French Proverbs

Skeptics are never deceived. – French Proverbs

Some think they are done when they are only beginning. – French Proverbs

Sorrow for a widow is like pain in the elbow, sharp and short. – French Proverbs

Tell me whom you frequent, and I will tell you who you are. – French Proverbs

That day is lost on which one has not laughed. – French Proverbs

That happens in a moment which may not happen in a thousand years. – French Proverbs

The arguments of the strongest always have the most weight. – French Proverbs

The belly overrules the head. – French Proverbs

The best driver will sometimes upset. – French Proverbs

The best thing about a man is his dog. – French Proverbs

The bird loves her own nest. – French Proverbs

The child may be rocked too hard. – French Proverbs

The clever wife makes her husband an apron. – French Proverbs

The common property donkey is the worst saddled. – French Proverbs

The devil is a busy bishop in his own diocese. – French Proverbs

The devil is not always at a poor man’s door. – French Proverbs

The devil is not always good to beginners. – French Proverbs

The doctor is often more to be feared than the disease. – French Proverbs

The dog may be wonderful prose, but only the cat is poetry. – French Proverbs

The eagle does not hunt flies. – French Proverbs

The early riser is healthy, cheerful, and industrious. – French Proverbs

The eyes are always children. – French Proverbs

The first blow is as good as two. – French Proverbs

The first step is all the difficulty. – French Proverbs

The fox thinks everybody eats poultry like himself. – French Proverbs

The game is not worth the candle. – French Proverbs

The great thieves lead away the little thieves. – French Proverbs

The happiness of the human race in this world does not consist in our being devoid of passions, but in our learning to command them. – French Proverbs

The last comers are often the masters. – French Proverbs

The man who has nothing to do is always the busiest. – French Proverbs

The meaning is best known to the speaker. – French Proverbs

The miser and the pig are of no use till dead. – French Proverbs

The more things change, the more they stay the same. – French Proverbs

The old dog barks not in vain. – French Proverbs

The only real way someone can stop criticism is to die. – French Proverbs

The only victory over love is flight. – French Proverbs

The pleasure of love lasts but a moment, The pain of love lasts a lifetime. – French Proverbs

The poor man commands respect; the beggar must always excite anger. – French Proverbs

The price spoils the pleasure. – French Proverbs

The reputation of a good thing precedes it. – French Proverbs

The sea has an enormous thirst and an insatiable appetite. – French Proverbs

The shoemaker goes barefoot. – French Proverbs

The sign of wisdom is a continual cheerfulness. – French Proverbs

The slowest barker is the surest biter. – French Proverbs

The stable wears out a horse more than the road. – French Proverbs

The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man. – French Proverbs

The tulip is, among flowers, what the peacock is among birds. A tulip lacks scent, a peacock has an unpleasant voice. The one takes pride in its garb, the other in its tail. – French Proverbs

The wolf knows what the ill beats thinks. – French Proverbs

The worst is not always certain but it’s very likely. – French Proverbs

There are more foolish buyers than foolish sellers. – French Proverbs

There are more old drunkards than old doctors. – French Proverbs

There are no foolish trades, there are only foolish people. – French Proverbs

There are toys for all ages. – French Proverbs

There are two great pleasures in gambling: that of winning and that of losing. – French Proverbs

There is no good mother-in-law but that she wears a green gown. – French Proverbs

There is no perfect marriage, for there are no perfect men. – French Proverbs

There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. – French Proverbs

There is no such thing as a pretty good omelette. – French Proverbs

There is no such thing as an insignificant enemy. – French Proverbs

There is one who kisses, and the other who offers a cheek. – French Proverbs

There’s a pinch of the madman in every great man. – French Proverbs

There’s no such thing as an insignificant enemy. – French Proverbs

Things promised are things due. – French Proverbs

Those who live in a glass house should not throw stones. – French Proverbs

Tired folks are quarrelsome. – French Proverbs

To a good rat, a good cat. – French Proverbs

To know a man well one must have eaten a bushel of salt with him. – French Proverbs

To leave is to die a little. – French Proverbs

To take the rat by the tail. – French Proverbs

To turn an obstacle to one’s advantage is a great step towards victory. – French Proverbs

To want to forget something is to remember it. – French Proverbs

To want to forget something is to think of it. – French Proverbs

Too much scratching smarts; too much talking harms. – French Proverbs

Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. – French Proverbs

Travellers from afar can lie with impunity. – French Proverbs

True nobility is invulnerable. – French Proverbs

Try to reason about love and you will lose your reason. – French Proverbs

Vanity has no greater foe than vanity. – French Proverbs

Vive la difference. – French Proverbs

Wait until it is night before saying it has been a fine day. – French Proverbs

War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military. – French Proverbs

War makes robbers, peace hangs them. – French Proverbs

We know the true worth of a thing when we have lost it. – French Proverbs

We must learn from life how to suffer it. – French Proverbs

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. – French Proverbs

Well knows the cats whose ear she licks. – French Proverbs

What is not good for the swarm is not good for the bees. – French Proverbs

What the colt learns in youth he continues in old age. – French Proverbs

What you are doing, do thoroughly. – French Proverbs

What you can’t get is just what suits you. – French Proverbs

When a fool goes to Rome, the same fool returns from there. – French Proverbs

When a man begins to reason, he ceases to feel. – French Proverbs

When all other sins are old avarice is still young. – French Proverbs

When in doubt, Gallop. – French Proverbs

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. – French Proverbs

When the blind man carries the banner, woe to those who follow. – French Proverbs

When the dog is drowning every one brings him water. – French Proverbs

When the tree is down everybody runs to the branches. – French Proverbs

When we cannot get what we love, we must love what is within our reach. – French Proverbs

When we don’t have what we like, we must like what we have. – French Proverbs

When you can’t find peace within yourself, there’s no use looking for it somewhere else. – French Proverbs

When you rely too much on reason, you end up not relying enough on feeling. – French Proverbs

Where rosemary grows the wife wears the trousers. – French Proverbs

Where there’s music there can be love. – French Proverbs

While the dogs are growling at each other, the wolf devours the sheep. – French Proverbs

Who lends to a friend loses doubly. – French Proverbs

Who loves well, chastises well. – French Proverbs

Who never climbed, never fell. – French Proverbs

Who pays soon borrows when he will. – French Proverbs

Whoever profits by the crime is guilty of it. – French Proverbs

Why kill time when one can employ it? – French Proverbs

Wine has drowned more than the sea. – French Proverbs

With enough ‘ifs’ we could put Paris into a bottle. – French Proverbs

Women will believe any lie that is wrapped in praise. – French Proverbs

Wrinkled purses make wrinkled faces. – French Proverbs

Write injuries in sand, kindnesses in marble. – French Proverbs

Yesterday is nostalgia. – French Proverbs

You can tell an artist by his work – French Proverbs

You can’t judge a book by its cover. – French Proverbs

You cannot be very smart if you have never done anything foolish. – French Proverbs

You need to break the shell in order to have the almond. – French Proverbs

Young men forgive, old men never. – French Proverbs

Youth may stray afar yet return at last. – French Proverbs

French Proverbs

English to French

A bad workman always blames his tools  /  Le mauvais ouvrier a toujours de mauvais outils

A bad penny always come back  /  On finit toujours par payer les conséquences de ses actes  /  Les pires personnes reviennent toujours

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush  /  Un « tiens » vaut mieux que deux « tu l’auras »  /  Il vaut mieux tenir que courir

A burnt child dreads the fire  /  Chat échaudé craint l’eau froide

A carpenter is known by his chips  /  À l’œuvre on reconnaît l’ouvrier

A cat has nine lives  /  Un chat a neuf vies

A cat may look at a king  /  Un chien regarde bien un évêque

A closed mouth catches no flies  /  En bouche close, n’entre point mouche

A constant guest is never welcome  /  L’hôte et la pluie après trois jours ennuient

A creaking gate hangs longest  /  Pot fêlé dure longtemps

A debt paid is a friend kept  /  Les bons comptes font les bons amis

A drowning man will catch at a straw / Un homme qui se noie se raccroche à un fêtu

A fault confessed is half redressed / Faute avouée est à moitié pardonnée

A fool sometimes gives a hint which a wise man may take / L’avis d’un sot est quelquefois bon à suivre

A friend in need is a friend indeed / C’est dans le besoin qu’on reconnaît ses amis  /  Amitié dans la peine, amitié certaine

A good deed is never lost / Une bonne action n’est jamais perdue

A good name is better than riches / Bonne renommée vaut mieux que ceinture dorée

A hungry belly has no ears / Ventre affamé n’a point d’oreilles

A man is known by the company he keeps / Dis-moi qui tu fréquentes, je te dirai qui tu es

A miss is as good as a mile / Rater de peu ou de beaucoup, c’est toujours rater

A penny saved is a penny earned  /  Il n’y a pas de petit profit

A rolling stone gathers no moss / Pierre qui roule n’amasse pas mousse

A stitch in time saves nine / Un pas fait à temps en vaut cent  /  Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

A word once spoken is past recalling / Il faut tourner sept fois sa langue dans sa bouche avant de parler

A word to the wise is enough  /  À bon entendeur, salut !

Accidents will happen  / Un malheur est vite arrivé / On ne saurait tout prévenir

Actions speak louder than words / Les actions en disent plus que les mots / Bien faire vaut mieux que bien dire  /  Mieux vaut faire que dire

Adam’s ale is the best brew / L’eau est le meilleur des breuvages

Advice is cheap  /  Les conseilleurs ne sont pas les payeurs

After a storm comes a calm / Après l’orage vient le calme

All cats are grey in the dark  /  La nuit, tous les chats sont gris

All good things come to an end  /  Toutes bonnes choses ont une fin

All lay loads on a willing horse  /  Qui tend le dos, portera le fardeau

All roads lead to Rome  /  Tous les chemins mènent à Rome

All’s fair in love and war  /  En amour comme à la guerre, tous les coups sont permis

All’s fish that comes to the net  /  Tout est bon à prendre

All’s well that ends well  /  Tout est bien qui finit bien

All that glitters is not gold  /  Tout ce qui brille n’est pas or

All things are difficult before they are easy  /  Toutes les choses sont difficiles avant d’être faciles

All things come to those who wait  /  Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy  /  On s’abrutit à toujours travailler

An apple a day keeps the doctor away  /  La pomme du matin tue le médecin  /   Une pomme par jour, en forme toujours

An Englishman’s home is his castle  /  Chacun est roi en sa maison /  Charbonnier est maître chez soi.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth  /  Œil pour œil, dent pour dent

An idle mind (var. brain) is the devil’s workshop  /  L’oisiveté est mère de tous les vices

Any port in storm  /  Nécessité fait loi

Appearances are deceptive  /  Les apparences sont trompeuses

Art is long, life is short  /  L’art est long, la vie est courte

As well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb  /  Tant qu’à être pendu pour un mouton , autant l’ être pour un agneau !  /  Quitte à être puni, autant que cela en vaille la peine !

As you make your bed, so you must lie in it  /  Comme on fait son lit, on se couche

As you sow, so shall you reap  /  Quand le vin est tiré, il faut le boire

Ask no questions and be told no lies  /  Ne pas se poser de questions, c’est se garantir des mensonges

Bad news travels fast  /  Les nouvelles vont vite

Barking dogs seldom bite  /  Chien qui aboie ne mord pas  /  Les chiens aboient, la caravane passe

Beauty is but skin deep  /  La beauté n’est pas tout

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder  /  La beauté est affaire de goût  /  Il n’y a pas de laides amours

Beggars can’t be choosers  /  Nécessité fait loi  /  Un mendiant n’a pas le choix

Beginner’s luck  /  Aux innocents les mains pleines

Better be envied than pitied   / Mieux vaut faire pitié qu’envie

Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion  /  Mieux vaut être tête de chien (var. souris) que queue de lion

Better bend than break  /  Mieux vaut plier que rompre

Better brain than brawn  /  Mieux vaut de la cervelle que du muscle

Better late than never    / Mieux vaut tard que jamais

Better safe than sorry  /  Mieux vaut sauf que désolé  /  Prudence est mère de sécurité  /  Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know  /  On sait ce que l’on quitte, on ne sait pas ce que l’on prend

Better to get an egg today than a hen tomorrow  /  Il vaut mieux tenir que courir  /  Un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l’auras

Birds in their little nests agree  / Ce n’est pas beau de se disputer (se dit aux enfants)

Birds of a feather flock together  /  Qui se ressemble s’assemble  /  Chacun aime son semblable

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed  /  Bienheureux celui qui n’attend rien, car il ne sera point déçu

Blood is thicker than water  /  La voix du sang parle toujours plus fort que les autres

Boys will be boys  /  Les garçons seront toujours des garçons  / Il faut que jeunesse se passe

Bread is the staff of life  /  Le pain est le soutien de la vie  /  Il faut du pain pour vivre

Brevity is the soul of wit  /  La concision est le secret d’un bon mot d’esprit / Les plaisanteries les plus courtes sont les meilleures

Brother will turn on brother  /  L’homme est un loup pour l’homme

Call a spade a spade  /  Il faut appeler un chat un chat

Call no man happy till he is dead  /  Nul avant de mourir ne peut être dit heureux (Æschylus)

Catch your bear before you sell its skin  /  Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué

Cast ne’er a clout till May is out  /  Ne’er cast the clout ere may is out  /  En avril, n’ôte pas un fil, en mai fais ce qu’il te plaît

Charity begins at home  /  Charité bien ordonnée commence par soi-même  /  La charité commence chez soi

Charity covers a multitude of sins  /  Qui prend, s’oblige

Charity will be rewarded in heaven  /  Qui donne aux pauvres prête à Dieu

Children should be seen and not heard / On dit voir les enfants et non pas les entendre

Christmas comes but once a year  /  Ce n’est pas tous les jours fête

Circumstances alter cases  /  Il faut tenir compte des circonstances  /  Il faut considérer chaque cas particulier

Clothes do not make the man  /  L’habit ne fait pas le moine

Coming events cast their shadows before  /  Les événements présentent toujours des signes avant-coureurs

Comparisons are odious  /  Comparaisons sont odieuses

Constant dripping wears away the stone  /  Goutte à goutte l’eau creuse la pierre

Curiosity killed the cat  /  La curiosité est un vilain défaut

Curses, like chickens, come home to roost  /  On est puni par où on a péché  /  Le mal retourne à celui qui l’a fait

Cut your coat according to your cloth  /  Il faut tailler la robe selon le drap  (var. son manteau selon son drap) /  Gouverne ta bouche selon ta bourse

Dead men tell no tales  /  Morte la bête, mort le venin

Death is the great leveller  /  La mort égalise toutes les conditions

Delay breeds danger  /  Le retard est le père de mille embarras

Desert and reward seldom keep company  /  Jamais à bon chien il ne vient un os

Desperate diseases must have desperate remedies  /  À mal désespéré, remède héroïque

Desperate times, desperate measures  /  Aux grands maux les grands remèdes

Diamond cuts diamond  /  Le diamant taille le diamant  / Fin contre fin n’est pas bon à faire doublure

Discretion is the better part of valour  /  Prudence est mère de sûreté

Distance lends enchantment to the view  /  L’éloignement augmente le prestige

Do as I say, not as I do  /  Fais ce que je dis, non ce que je fais

Do as you would be done by  /  Ne fais pas aux autres ce que tu ne voudrais pas qu’ils te fassent

Do not halloo you are out of the wood  /  Il ne faut pas se moquer des chiens avant qu’on ne soit hors du village  /  Il ne faut pas crier victoire trop tôt

Do not put new wine into old bottles  /  On ne met pas de vin nouveau dans de vieilles outres

Dog does not eat dog   /  Les loups ne se mangent pas entre eux

Don’t bark, if you can’t bite  /  Si tu ne peux mordre, ne montre pas les dents

Don’t change horses in mid-stream  /  Il ne faut pas changer de cheval au milieu du gué

Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched  /  Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué

Don’t cross a bridge till you come to it  /  Chaque chose en son temps

Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face  /  Tel croit venger sa honte qui l’augmente

Don’t eat the calf in the cow’s belly  /  Il ne faut pas manger son blé en herbe

Don’t judge a book by its cover  /  La couverture ne fait pas le livre  /  Il ne faut pas se fier aux apparences

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth  /  À cheval donné on ne regarde pas les dents

Don’t put all your eggs in one (var. the same) basket  /  Il ne faut pas mettre tout ses œufs dans le même panier

Don’t put the cart before the horse  /  Il ne faut pas mettre la charrue avant les bœufs

Dry bargains are seldom successful  /  Marché qu’on n’arrose pas, vous reste souvent sur les bras

Dumb folks get no land  /  Un muet ne trouve pas sa route

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise  /  Se coucher tôt, se lever tôt, c’est amasser santé, richesse et sagesse

Early sow, early mow  /  Semailles hâtives avancent la moisson

Easy come, easy go  /  Ce qui vient facilement, s’en va de même  /  Ce qui vient de la flûte s’en retourne au tambour

Empty vessels make the most noise  /  Ceux qui en disent le plus en savent le moins  /  Les grands diseurs ne sont pas les grands faiseurs

Even a worm will turn  /  Il y a des limites à tout

Even the best of friends must part  /  Les meilleures choses ont une fin

Ever drunk, ever dry  /  Plus on boit, plus on veut boire

Every bean has its black  /  Toute fève a son point noir

Every bird must hatch her own eggs  /  À la pondeuse d’être couveuse

Every bullet has its billet / Toute balle a sa destination

Every cloud has a silver lining  /  Après la pluie, le beau temps

Every dog has its day  /  Chacun a son jour de gloire

Every flood has its ebb  /  Nul flux sans reflux   Toute médaille a son revers

Every Jack has his Jill  /  À chacun sa chacune  /  À chaque pot son couvercle

Every miller draws water to his mill  /  Chacun prêche pour son saint

Every one has a right to his own  /  Chacun le sien n’est pas trop

Every one must live by his calling  /  Il faut que chacun vive de son métier  /  Tout métier doit rapporter

Every penny counts  /  Un sou est un sou

Every thing has its time  /  Chaque chose a son temps

Every truth ought not to be told  /  Toutes vérités ne sont pas bonnes à dire

Experience is the mistress of fools  /  Tête légère n’apprend rien que par expérience

Familiarity breeds contempt  /  La familiarité engendre le mépris

Fine feathers make fine birds  /  La belle plume fait le bel oiseau

First come, first served  /  Premier arrivé, premier servi

Flies are not to be caught with vinegar  /  On ne prend pas les mouches avec du vinaigre

Forewarned is forearmed  /  Un homme averti en vaut deux

Fortune lost, nothing lost  /  Plaie d’argent n’est pas mortelle

From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step / Du sublime au ridicule, il n’y a qu’un pas

Gather thistles, expect prickles  /  Qui s’y frotte s’y pique.

Give a dog a bad name, and hang him  /  Qui veut tuer son chien, l’accuse de la rage

Give a thing and take a thing  /  Donne si tu veux recevoir / On ne donne rien pour rien

Give credit where credit is due  /  Il faut rendre à César ce qui est à César et à Dieu ce qui est à Dieu

Give some and keep the rest  /  Donne l’os au chien pour qu’il ne convoite pas ta viande

Good neighbours are hard to find  /  Les bons voisins sont difficiles à trouver

Good wine needs no bush  /  À bon vin point d’enseigne

Good words break no bones  /  Douce parole n’écorche pas langue

Grasp all, lose all  /  Qui trop embrasse, mal étreint

Half a loaf is better than no bread  /  Faute de grives on mange des merles

Heaven helps those who help themselves  /  Aide-toi, le ciel t’aidera

Haste makes waste  /  Souvent tout gâte qui trop se hâte

Hell is paved with good intentions  /  L’enfer est pavé de bonnes intentions

He that will not when he may, when he will, shall oft have nay  /  Qui ne fait pas quand il peut, il ne fait pas quand il veut

He who laughs last laughs best  /  Rira bien qui rira le dernier

He who pays the piper calls the tune  /  Qui paie les pipeaux, commande la musique

He who steals a pin, will steal a greater thing  /  He that will steal a penny will steal a pound  /  Qui vole un œuf vole un bœuf

Honesty is the best policy  /  L’honnêteté est la meilleure des recettes

Hunger breeds quarrels  /  Les chevaux se battent quand il n’y a rien au ratelier

Hunger is the best sauce  (var. spice) /  À bon appétit il ne faut point de sauce  /  Bon repas doit commencer par la faim

If wishes were horses, then beggars might ride  /  Avec des si, on mettrait Paris en bouteille

Ill gotten seldom prosper  /  Bien mal acquis ne profite jamais

In for a penny, in for a pound / Quand le vin est tiré, il faut le boire

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king  /  Au royaume des aveugles, les borgnes sont les rois

It is a sorry mouse that has but one hole  /  Souris qui n’a qu’un trou est bientôt prise

It is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back  /  C’est la goutte d’eau qui fait déborder le vase

It is truth only which gives offence  /  Il n’y a que la vérité qui offense

It never rains but it pours  /  Un malheur ne vient jamais seul

It’s better to be a hammer than a nail  /  Il vaut mieux être le marteau que l’enclume

It’s never too late to mend  /  Il n’est jamais trop tard pour bien faire

It’s no use crying over spilt milk  /  Ce qui est fait est fait

It takes all sorts to make a world  /  Il faut de tout pour faire un monde

Jack is as good as his master  /  Tel maître, tel valet

Jack of all trades, master of none  /  Bon à tout, bon à rien

Kill not the goose that lays the golden eggs  /  Il ne faut pas tuer la poule aux œufs d’or

Laughter is the best medicine  /  Mieux vaut rire que pleurrer

Let sleeping dogs lie  /  Il ne faut pas réveiller le chat qui dort

Let well alone /  Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

Life is not all beer and skittles  /  La vie n’est pas un long fleuve tranquille

Like father, like son  /  Tel père, tel fils

Live and let live  /  Il faut que tout le monde vive

Love is blind  /  L’amour est aveugle

Man does not live by bread alone  /  L’homme ne vit pas que d’eau fraiche

Man lives by hope  /  L’espoir fait vivre

Manners maketh the man  /  Un homme n’est rien sans les manières

Man proposes, God disposes  /  L’homme propose, Dieu dispose

Many a mickle makes a muckle  /  Les petits ruisseaux font les grandes rivières

Many a true word is spoken in jest  /  On dit souvent la vérité en riant

Many words will not fill a bushel  /  Autant en emporte le vent

Marry in haste, repent at leisure  /  Qui se marie à la hâte se repent à loisir

Money does not grow on trees  /  L’argent ne tombe pas du ciel  /  L’argent ne se trouve pas sous le sabot d’un cheval

More haste, less speed  /  Hâte-toi lentement

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today  /  Il ne faut jamais remettre au lendemain ce qu’on peut faire le jour même

Never say die  /  Il ne faut jamais désespérer

Never say never / Il ne faut jamais dire : Fontaine, je ne boirai pas de ton eau

No man is a hero to his valet  /  Il n’y a pas de héros pour son valet de chambre

No news is good news  /  Pas de nouvelle, bonne nouvelle

Nothing ventured, nothing gained  /  Qui ne tente rien, n’a rien

Old habits die hard  /  L’habitude est une seconde nature

Once bitten, twice shy  /  Chat échaudé craint l’eau froide

Once in while does no harm  /  Une fois n’est pas coutume

One man’s drink (var. meat) is another man’s poison  /  Ce qui convient à quelqu’un peut être néfaste pour un autre

One must choose the lesser of two evils  /  De deux maux il faut choisir le moindre

One must run with the hare and hunt with the hounds  /  Il faut ménager la chèvre et le chou

One swallow does not make a summer  /  Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps

Out of sight, out of mind  /  Loin des yeux, loin du cœur

Other times, other manners  /  Other days, other ways  /  Autres temps, autres mœurs

Patience brings all things about  /  Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones  /  Mieux vaut commencer par balayer devant sa porte

Plenty is no plague  /  Abondance de biens ne nuit pas

Practice makes perfect  /  C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron

Prevention is better than cure  /  Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

Rome was not built in one day  /  Rome ne s’est pas faite en un jour

Seek and you shall find  /  Qui cherche trouve

Silence gives consent  /  Qui ne dit mot consent

Sleep on it  /  La nuit porte conseil

Sleeping dogs don’t bite  /  Il ne faut pas éveiller le chat qui dort

Slow and steady wins the race  /  Rien ne sert de courir, il faut partir à point

Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind  /  He who sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind  /  Qui sème le vent, récolte la tempête

Spare the rod and spoil the child  /  Qui aime bien châtie bien

Speech is silver, silence is golden  /  La parole est d’arent mais le silence est d’or

Sue a beggar, and catch a louse  /  À colleter un gueux, on devient pouilleux

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof  /  A chaque jour suffit sa peine

Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves  /  Il n’y a pas de petites économies  /  Les petits ruisseaux font les grandes rivières  /  Si l’on fait attention à chaque centime, notre fortune est faite

Tall oaks from little acorns grow  /  Les petits ruisseaux font les grandes rivières

The bait hides the hook  /  On chatouille la truite pour mieux la prendre

The best fish swim near the bottom / Les meilleurs poissons nagent près du fond

The best is often the enemy of the good  /  Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien

The biter is sometimes bit  /  Souvent les railleurs sont raillés

The cobbler’s children go barefoot  /  Les cordonniers sont les plus mal chaussés

The covetous man, like a dog in a wheel, roasts meat for others  /  L’avare, comme le chien de cuisine, tourne la broche pour autrui

The cowl does not make the monk  /  L’habit ne fait pas le moine

The darkest hour is just before dawn  /  La nuit porte conseil

The devil is not so black as he is painted  /  Le diable n’est pas toujours aussi noir qu’il en a l’air

The early bird catches the worm  /  L’avenir appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt

The fewer, the better cheer  /  Moins nous serons, plus nous mangerons

The leopard cannot change its spots  /  Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop

The more haste the worse speed  /  Plus on se presse, moins on avance

The more the merrier  /  Plus on est de fous, plus on rit

The opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings  /  L’opéra n’est pas fini tant que la grosse n’a pas chanté (= Ce n’est fini qu’à la fin)

The perfection of art, is to conceal art  /  La grande finesse n’est pas celle qui s’aperçoit

The proof of the pudding is in the eating  /  C’est au pied du mur qu’on voit le maçon

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions  /  L’enfer est pavé de bonnes intentions

The sun shines on the evil and on the good  (var. for one and all)  /  Le soleil luit pour tout le monde

There are none so blind as they who will not see  /  Il n’est pire aveugle que celui qui ne veut pas voir

There are plenty more fish in the sea  /  Un(e) de perdu(e), dix de trouvé(e)s

There is a season for everything  /  Il y a un temps pour tout

There is no fool like an old fool  /  Il n’y a pire imbécile qu’un vieil imbécile

There is no place like home / Rien ne vaut son chez soi

There is no rose without a thorn / Pas de rose sans épine

There is no use crying over spilt milk  /  Ce qui est fait est fait

There’s no smoke without fire  /  Il n’y a pas de fumée sans feu

There’s none as deaf as those who will not hear  /  Il n’est pire sourd que celui qui ne veut pas entendre

Tide and time wait for no man  /  Le temps perdu ne se rattrape jamais

Time brings all things to light  /  Tout se découvre avec le temps

Time is money  / Le temps, c’est de l’argent

Time will tell  / Qui vivra verra

Tomorrow is another day  /  Demain il fera jour

Too many cooks spoil the broth  /  Trop de marmitons gâtent la sauce  /  Autant de têtes, autant d’avis

Truth hurts  /  Il n’y a que la vérité qui blesse

Two heads are better than one  /  Deux avis valent mieux qu’un

Unity is strength  /  United we stand, divided we fall  /  L’union fait la force

Waste not want not  /  Qui ne tente rien n’a rien

We must walk before we run  /  Il ne faut pas voler avant d’avoir des ailes

What cannot be cured must be endured  /  Il faut souffrir ce qu’on ne saurait empêcher

What goes around, comes around  /  On récolte ce que l’on sème

What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander  /  Sauce bonne pour l’oie est bonne pour le jars

What’s bred in the bone will come out in the flesh  /  La caque sent toujours le hareng  /  Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop

When good cheer is lacking, friends will be packing  /  Cuisine mangée, amis dispersés

When one door shuts, another opens  /  Là ou une porte se ferme, une autre s’ouvre

Where bees are, there will be honey  /  Où il y a des abeilles, il y aura du miel

Where there is a will there is a way  /  Vouloir c’est pouvoir  /  Quand on veut, on peut

While the cat is away, the mice will play  /  Quand le chat n’est pas là, les souris dansent

While the grass grows, the steer starves  /  À attendre que l’herbe pousse, le bœuf meurt de faim

While there is life, there is hope  /  Tant qu’il y a de la vie, il y a de l’espoir

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar  /  On attrape plus de mouches avec du miel qu’avec du vinaigre

You can’t have your cake and eat it  /  On ne peut pas avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear  /  L’habit ne fait pas le moine

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks  /  You can’t teach Granny to suck eggs  /  Ce n’est pas à un vieux singe qu’on apprend à faire des grimaces

You reap what you sow  /  Qui sème le vent, récolte la tempête

Youth will have its fling  /  Il faut bien que jeunesse se passe

French Proverbs

French to English:

À bon chat bon rat. ― Tit for tat.

À cran: Edgy or nervous: used to describe furtive behavior.

À l’impossible nul n’est tenu – no one can achieve the impossible.

À la carte: This literally means ‘on the menu’; but its meaning has come to refer to ordering individual items from the menu instead of a fixed-price three or four course meal in a restaurant

À la côte: “On the rocks,” referring to someone living on the edge, not to a drink served on ice.

À la fin: “All right already – enough,” implying the speaker is out of patience.

À la mode: In French this means ‘in style’; in English it refers to serving pie with ice cream on top

Amuse-bouche: A bit-sized hors d’œuvre; literal translation: something amusing/pleasing to the mouth

Après la pluie vient le beau temps – After a storm comes calm.

Après la pluie, le beau temps. ― Every cloud has a silver lining.

Art nouveau: A style of the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Au gratin: In English this means that the dish is topped with cheese, which is then melted in the oven

Au jus: If you see a steak served ‘au jus’ in a restaurant, it means it is served with juice/gravy/sauce

Au point ou on en est, autant faire les choses jusqu’au bout. – In for a penny, in for a pound. The French version means considering where we are (the situation we are in), we might as well stick it out until the end.

Au royaume des aveugles, le borgne est roi – In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king

Aussitôt dit, aussitôt fait. ― No sooner said than done.

Autres temps, autres mœurs. ― Other times, other customs.

Avant la lettre: Something so much on the cutting edge that the new trend doesn’t have a name/term yet

Avant-garde: Something that is on the cutting edge, particulary in the arts

Bâtir des châteaux en Espagne – this is like building castles in Spain

Battre le fer pendant qu’il est chaud. – Strike while the iron’s hot, or make hay while the sun shines.

Beaux-Arts: From the period of the early 20th century

Bon appétit. The French phrase is the only one used in English.

Bon voyage: ‘Have a good trip;’

C’est dans le besoin que l’on connaît ses vrais amis. – A friend in need is a friend indeed.

Ça coûte les yeux de la tête – this costs the eyes of the face.

Ce n’est pas à un vieux singe qu’on apprend à faire la grimace. ― There’s no substitute for experience.

Cela va de soi – Needless to say

C’est la vie: Meaning ‘that’s life,’ 

Chacun à son metier, les vaches seront bien gardées. – Each man to his own trade (the cows will be well looked after).

Chacun voit midi à sa porte. ― Everyone sees noon at his own door, or Everyone sees things their own way.

Chaque chose en son temps. – Don’t cross your bridges before you come to them.

Chat échaudé craint l’eau froide. ― Once bitten, twice shy.

Chat échaudé craint l’eau froide. – Once bitten, twice shy. Literally: ‘A scalded cat is afraid of cold water.’

Chef d’œuvre: A masterpiece

Comme il faut: As it should be

Crème de la crème: Meaning ‘the best of the best’, this phrase literally translates to: ‘the cream of the cream’ (‘cream of the crop’)

Déjà-vu: The experience that you may have seem the same thing before

Donne au chien l’os pour qu’il ne convoite pas ta viande. ― Give some and keep the rest.

Elle a trouvé l’oiseau rare – to find a rare bird

Elle est bonne: “She’s hot.” Watch how you use this expression, as it has a strong sexual connotation.

Engueuler: To tell someone off.

Entre-nous: Something that is ‘between us’

Faire d’une pierre deux coups. ― To kill two birds with one stone.

Fait accompli: Something that is complete, irreversible

Faux pas: A ‘false step’, this expression is used when someone deviates from the norm

Haute cuisine: ‘High cooking,’ this is a compliment to the food and the chef who made it

Hors d’œuvre: An appetizer; literal translation: outside of the masterpiece (the main course)

Il est passé beaucoup d’eau sous le pont – A lot of water has passed under this bridge, 

Il n’y a pas de fumée sans feu. ― There’s no smoke without fire.

Il n’y a pas plus sourd que celui qui ne veut pas entendre. ― Commonly applied french proverbs flair beauty impress.

Il n’y a pas plus sourd que celui qui ne veut pas entendre. ― No one is as deaf as the one who does not want to listen.

Il ne faut jamais courir deux lièvres à la fois. ― Don’t try to do two things at once.

Il ne faut pas se fier aux apparences. – You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué. – Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Literally: ‘You mustn’t sell the bear’s skin before you have killed it.’

Il ne faut rien laisser au hasard. ― Nothing should be left to chance.

Il vaut mieux prévenir que guérir. ― It is better to prevent than to heal.

Il y a plus d’un âne à la foire qui s’appelle Martin. ― Don’t jump to conclusions.

Impossible n’est pas français. ― Impossible isn’t French.

Instead of “live well”, the French say “Eat well:” Mangez bien.

Je ne sais quoi: Signalling an essential, although un-nameable, characteristic

Joie de vivre: Joy/happiness derived from life

L’argent attire l’argent. – Money makes money.

L’argent est la racine de tous les maux. – Money is the root of all evil.

L’argent est le roi. – Money talks. Literally, ‘Money is king.’

L’habit ne fait pas le moine – The clothes do not make the man, or Don’t judge a book by its cover.

L’occasion fait le larron – Opportunity makes a thief

La vérité sort de la bouche des enfants. – Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings comes forth truth/wisdom.

La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin, meaning: “Life is too short to drink bad wine”. This is a typical French saying, and the French do enjoy consuming moderate amounts of good wine with their meals, noon and evening alike.

Le loup retourne toujours au bois. ― One always goes back to one’s roots.

Le mal des uns fait le bonheur des autres. – Literally, what is bad for some people brings happiness to others. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

Le mensonge n’a pas de pieds – A lie has no legs.

Le temps, c’est de l’argent. ― Time is money.

Les bons comptes font les bons amis. – Bad debts make bad friends. This is the opposite in French, which literally means ‘Good accounts make good friends.’

Les chiens aboient, la caravane passe – the dogs bark, but the caravan moves. To each his own.

Les gros poissons mangent les petits. ― Big fish eat little fish.

Les murs ont des oreilles. ― Walls have ears.

Les petits ruisseaux font les grandes rivières. – Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves; great oaks from little acorns grow. Literally means ‘Little streams make big rivers.’

Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup means: “Eat well, laugh often, love abundantly.”

Mieux vaut tard que jamais. ― Better late than never.

Ne pas avoir inventé l’eau chaude – didn’t reinvent the wheel.

Ne réveillez pas le chat qui dort. ― Don’t wake the sleeping cat.

Nécessité est mère d’invention. – Necessity is the mother of invention.

Nécessité fait loi. ― Beggars can’t be choosers.

On ne change pas une équipe qui gagne. ― One does not change a winning team. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

On ne fait pas d’omelette sans casser des œufs. ― You can’t make an omelete without breaking eggs.

Par excellence: Quintessential

Paris ne s’est pas fait en un jour! ― Paris was not made in a day!

Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid. ― Little by little, the bird makes its nest.

Quand le vin est tiré, il faut le boire. ― Once the first step is taken there’s no going back.

Quand on a pas ce que l’on aime, il faut aimer ce que l’on a. ― When one doesn’t have the things that one loves, one must love what one has.

Quand on parle du loup, on en voit la queue – Speak of the devil (and he appears)

Qui casse les verres les paie. ― You pay for your mistakes.

Qui n’avance pas, recule. ― Who does not move forward, recedes.

Qui ne dit mot consent. ― Silence implies consent.

Qui se ressemble s’assemble. – Birds of a feather flock together. Again, no direct reference to birds in the French proverb, which translates as ‘Those who are alike get together.’

Qui terre a, guerre a. ― He who has land has quarrels.

Qui veut voyager loin ménage sa monture. ― He who takes it slow and steady travels a long way.

Qui vivra verra. ― The future will tell.

Qui vole un oeuf vole un boeuf (literally, he who steals an egg steals cattle)

Qui a bu boira (literally, he who has drunk will drink again) – Once a thief, always a thief.

Raison d’être: Reason for being/living

Regarder en chiens de faïence: Glare at each other like you’re going to face off and fight.

Rien ne sert de courir, il faut partir à point.― Slow and steady wins the race.

Rira bien qui rira le dernier. – He who laughs last laughs longest. or Whoever laughs last laughs best.

Rira vendredi dimanche pleurera. – Literally, ‘He who laughs on Friday will cry on Sunday.’

Rouler une pelle: To French kiss

Sauve qui peut! – run for your lives!.

Savoir-faire: To know what to do

Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait. – If youth but knew, if old age but could.

Souris qui n’a qu’un trou est bientôt prise. ― Better safe than sorry.

Ta gueule: “Shut up.” This is a rude way of saying be quiet, so use with caution.

Tel père, tel fils. ― Like father like son.

Téloche: Television, but in a derogatory way; in English it would be ‘the boob tube’ or something else to imply mindless television programs.

Texto: To text message someone, send a text message.

Tomber de mal en pis. – To go from bad to worse, or to jump out of the frying pan into the fire.

Tout ce qui brille n’est pas or. – All that glitters is not gold

Tout est bien qui finit bien. ― All’s well that ends well.

Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre. ― All things come to those who wait.

Toute vérité n’est pas bonne à dire. – Some things are better left unsaid; the literal translation of the French is ‘Every truth is not good to say.’

Trompe l’œil: Something that tricks the eye

Un chien vivant vaut mieux qu’un lion mort. ― A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Un mal n’arrive jamais seul. – It never rains but it pours. The French proverb literally means ‘One bad thing never comes alone.’

Un petit service en vaut un autre. – You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours (literally, one good turn deserves, or is worth, another).

Un point à temps en vaut cent. – A stitch in time saves nine. The French proverb translates literally as ‘A stitch in time is worth a hundred.’

Un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l’auras. – A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. 

Une minute d’hésitation peut coûter cher. – He who hesitates is lost.

French Proverbs

  • À bois noueux, hache affilée.
    • English equivalent: You must meet roughness with roughness
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 12. ISBN 0415160502.
  • À chaque fou plaît sa marotte.
    • English equivalent: Every fool is pleased with his own folly.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “147”. Dictionary of European ProverbsI. Routledge. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7.
  • À chaque oiseau son nid est beau.
    • English equivalent: The bird loves her own nest.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “923”. Dictionary of European ProverbsII. Routledge. p. 776. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7.
  • À goupil endormi rien ne tombe en la gueule.
    • English equivalent: Liars should have a good memory.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 73. ISBN 0415096243.
  • À grands maux, grands remèdes. / Aux grands maux, les grands remèdes.
    • Desperate times call for desperate measures/Desperate diseases must have desperate cures.
    • “The sick in soul insist that it is humanity that is sick, and they are the surgeons to operate on it. They want to turn the world into a sickroom. And once they get humanity strapped to the operating table, they operate on it with an ax.”
    • Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955), Section 124.
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 10 August 2013.
    • Emanuel Strauss (11 January 2013). “812”. Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 552. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. Retrieved on 10 August 2013.
  • À mauvais ouvrier point de bon outil.
    • A bad craftsman blames his tools.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 4. ISBN 0415160502.
  • À cheval donné on ne regarde pas les dents (French) / la bride (Canadian).
    • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
    • “Gifts and donations in general, whether their value be more or less, should be accounted tokens of kindness and received with promptness and cordiality.”
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order. Munroe and Company. p. 127.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “184”. Dictionary of European ProverbsI. Routledge. p. X. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7.
  • À confesseurs, médicins, avocats, la vérité ne cèle de ton cas.
    • Conceal not the truth from thy physician and lawyer.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 666. ISBN 0415096243.
  • À l’étroit mais entre amis.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1094. ISBN 0415096243.
  • À l’œuvre, on connaît l’artisan.
    • A workman is known by his chips.
    • Jean de La Fontaine, Fables (1668–1679), I., 21, Les Frelons et les Mouches à miel; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 1.
  • À raconter ses maux, souvent on les soulage.
    • A problem shared is a problem halved.
    • Emanuel Strauss (1994). “766”. Dictionary of European ProverbsII. Taylor & Francis. p. 665. ISBN 978-0-415-10381-7.
  • À tort se lamente de la mer qui ne s’ennuie d’y retourner.
    • He complains wrongfully at the sea that suffer shipwreck twice.
    • “The only thing I learn from my mistakes is how to make them more spectacular.”
    • Stephen Lee, Twitter (2018)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “1109”. Dictionary of European ProverbsII. p. 898. ISBN 978-0-415-10381-7.
  • À qui il a été beaucoup donné, il sera beaucoup demandé.
    • Everybody to whom much is given, much is expected.
    • “Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.”
    • Aldous Huxley Ends and Means (1937)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1095. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Abondance de bien ne nuit pas.
    • A store is no sore; Keep a thing seven years and you’ll find a use for it.
    • Meaning: “An object that seems useless now may be just what you need at some future time, so do not discard it.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Caroline Ward (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 14.
  • Aide-toi et le ciel t’aidera.
    • Heaven helps those who help themselves.
    • “When in trouble first of all every one themselves should do their best to improve their condition.”
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 150. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
    • Lamy, Marie-Noklle (1997). The Cambridge French-English Thesaurus (illustrated, reprint ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 103. ISBN 0521425816.
  • Amour, toux et fumée en secret ne sont demeurés.
    • Love, smoke and cough are hard to hide.
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). p. 50.
  • Après la pluie, le beau temps.
    • After rain comes sunshine.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 7.
  • A tout pourquoi il y a (un) parce que.
    • Every why has a wherefore.
    • A problem never exists in isolation; it is surrounded by other problems in space and time. The more of the context of a problem that a scientist can comprehend, the greater are his chances of finding a truly adequate solution.
    • Russell L. Ackoff, The development of operations research as a science (1956)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 765. ISBN 0415096243.
  • A qui la tête fait mal, souffre par tout le corps.
    • When the head is sick, the whole body is sick.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1117. ISBN 0415096243.
  • A vrai dire peu de paroles.
    • Truth gives a short answer, lies go round about.
    • “The truth needs no colors.”
    • Bartlett Jere Whiting (1977). Early American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases. Harvard University Press. pp. 456. ISBN 978-0-674-21981-6.
  • À vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire
    • Pronunciation:a vɛ̃kʁə sɑ̃ peʁil, ɔ̃ tʁijɔ̃f sɑ̃ ɡlwaʁ
    • Literal translation: To win without risk is to triumph without glory
    • Origin: Attributed to the French tragedian Pierre Corneille from Le Cid
    • English equivalent: In a calm sea, every man is a pilot
  • Bacchus a noyé plus de gens que Neptune.
    • English equivalent: Wine has drowned more than the sea.
    • “A good way to define alcohol abuse is this: If it causes a problem, it is a problem.”
    • Cyndi Turner, Can I Keep Drinking?: How You Can Decide When Enough is Enough (2016)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 864. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Autres temps, autres mœurs
    • Pronunciation: otʁə tɑ̃, otʁə mœʁ
    • Literal translation: Other times, other customs
    • Origin: From Cicero’s First Oration against Catiline ‘O tempora o mores’
  • Beaucoup de paille, peu de grains.
    • Great cry and little wool.
    • “Much ado about nothing.”
    • Source for meaning of Keating, Walter (1859). Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). p. 128.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “178”. Dictionary of European ProverbsI. Routledge. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7.
  • Bien mal acquis ne profite jamais.
    • Ill gotten goods never prosper.
    • “A planet full of people meant nothing against the dictates of economic necessity!”
    • Isaac Asimov, The Currents of Space (1952).
    • Dictionnaire des proverbes anglais-français, français-anglais. Presses Université Laval. 1 January 1998. p. 60. ISBN 978-2-7637-7606-4.
  • Bien nourri et mal appris.
    • Better fed than taught.
    • “For if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity.”
    • Bacon, Francis (1625). Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 16.
  • Bois tordu fait feu droit.
    • Crooked logs make straight fires.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 683. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Bon cœur ne peut mentir.
    • The heart sees farther than the head.
    • “Occasionally he stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.”
    • Winston Churchill, On Stanley Baldwin, as cited in Churchill by Himself (2008), Ed. Langworth, PublicAffairs, p. 322 ISBN 1586486381
    • Also quoted by Kay Halle in Irrepressible Churchill: A Treasury of Winston Churchill’s Wit (1966).
    • Josiah Gilbert Holland Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
  • Bon marché tire agent de bourse.
    • If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Bon sang ne saurait mentir.
    • Good blood always shows itself.
    • Alain-René Lesage, Gil Blas (1715-1735), X., 1; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 13.
    • Alternately reported as Bon sang ne saurait mentir, “Good blood wouldn’t know how to lie”.
  • Bonne renommée vaut mieux que ceinture dorée.
    • A good name is the best of all treasures.
    • “If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles, or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad, hard-beaten road to his house, tho it be in the woods. ’tis certain that the secret can not be kept: the first witness tells it to a second, and men go by fives and tens and fifties to his door.”
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson, Works, Volume VIII. In his Journal. (1855), p. 528. (Ed. 1912)
    • Source: Rozan, Charles (1887). Petites ignorances de la conversation. P. Ducrocq. p. 460.
  • Bonne volonté est reputé pour le fait.
    • Take the will for the deed.
    • “We must always give people credit for their good intentions, even if they fail to carry them through.”
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 258. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 881. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Bons nageurs sont à la fin noyés.
    • Good swimmers are often drowned.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243.
  • C’est donner deux fois, donner promptement.
    • Translation and He gives twice, who gives in a trice.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 38.
  • C’est viande mal prête que lièvre en buisson.
    • English translation: First catch your hare and cook him.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 683. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Ce que chante la corneille, chante le corneillon.
    • As the old crow sings, so sing its fledglings.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 138. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Ce qui croît soudain, périt le lendemain.
    • Early ripe, early rotten.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 758. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Ce que l’enfant écoute au foyer, est bientôt connu jusqu’au moutier.
    • English translation: What children hear at home, soon flies abroad.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 653. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Ce que tout le monde dit doit être vrai.
    • What everybody says must be true.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 77. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Celui qui n’est pas avec moi est contre moi.
    • He who is not with me is against me.
    • “Well and if we all got our act together collectively and stopped making things worse; because that’s another thing people do all the time. Not only do they not do what they should to make things better, they actively attempt to make things worse because they’re spiteful, or resentful, or arrogant, or deceitful, or homicidal, or genocidal, or all of those things all bundled together in an absolutely pathological package. If people stopped really, really trying just to make things worse, we have no idea how much better they would get just because of that.”
    • Jordan Peterson, This is why you’re wasting your life away (2017)
    • Originally from the Bible, Luke 11:23 and Matthew 12:30. Specificed as a proverb in (Strauss, 1994 p. 974).
  • Celui qui est lent à manger est lent à travailler.
    • Quick at meat, quick at work.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1150. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Celui que veut être jeune quand il est vieux, doit être vieux quand il est jeune.
    • They who would be young when they are old must be old when they are young.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “1605”. Dictionary of European proverbsII. Routledge. p. 1151. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Celui qui fuit de bonne heure peut combattre derechef.
    • He that flees and runs away might live to see another day.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 703. ISBN 0415096243.
  • C’est l’exception qui confirme la règle.
    • It’s the exception that proves the rule.
    • Source: Verlaan, P.; Déry, M. (2006). Les conduites antisociales des filles: Comprendre pour mieux agir. Presses de l’Université du Québec. p. 49. ISBN 9782760514249.
  • C’est la poule qui chante qui a fait l’œuf.
    • Source: Cassagne, Jean-Marie (1998). 101 French proverbs: understanding French language and culture through common sayings. McGraw-Hill. p. 49. ISBN 0844212911.
  • C’est le ton qui fait la chanson.
    • It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it.
    • Source: Cassagne, Jean-Marie (1998). 101 French proverbs: understanding French language and culture through common sayings. McGraw-Hill. p. 49. ISBN 0844212911.
  • C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron.
    • Practice makes perfect.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 698. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • C’est trop d’un ennemi et pas assez de cent amis.
    • Do not think that one enemy is insignificant, or that a thousand friends are too many.
    • “Thou canst not joke an Enemy into a Friend;

but thou may’st a Friend into an Enemy.”

    • Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack (1739)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 718. ISBN 0415096243.
  • C’est vouloir prendre des lièvres au son du tambour.
    • Drumming is not the way to catch a hare.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 754. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Ce n’est pas la vache qui crie le plus fort qui donne le plus de lait.
    • It is not the hen who cackles the loudest who hatches the most eggs.
    • Source: Société liégeoise de littérature wallonne (1892). Bulletin de la Société liégeoise de littérature wallonne, Volym 31. Indiana University. p. 450.
  • Ce qui est fait n’est plus à faire.
    • What is done no longer needs to be done.
    • Source: Both, Anne (2009). Ce qui est fait n’est plus à faire: ethnographie d’un centre d’archives municipales : [étude réalisée dans le cadre du] programme de recherche Les fabriques du patrimoine. Direction de l’architecture et du patrimoine.
  • Ceux que Jupiter veut perdre, il commence par leur oter la raison.
    • Whom God will destroy, he first make mad.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 841. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Chacun doit balayer.
    • Everyone should sweep before his own door.
    • The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right. That has been my secret, and I have never had any quarrels. What if people are fools or knaves, it is not your house-keeping and you had far better leave them to their fate. The more you try to prove yourselves in the right and D. in the wrong, the more you will confirm him in his own views. Nothing makes people more furious than being proved to be in the wrong; and even if you convince D. he will always hate you.”
    • Hannah Whitall Smith, Philadelphia Quaker: The Letters of Hannah Whitall Smith (1950), p. 146 (part_5, p. 3 in linked document).
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 28.
  • Chacun pour soi et Dieu pour tous.
    • Every one for himself and God for us all.
    • Henri Estienne, Les Prémices (1595), Epigramme CXXX; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 28 (reported in Harbotle as “pour soy”, rather than “pour soi”).
  • Chacun peut être riche en promesses.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 765. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Chacun sent le mieux où le soulier le blesse.
    • No one knows where the shoe pinches, but he who wears it.
    • Meaning: “Nobody can fully understand another person’s hardship or suffering.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 289. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 4.
  • Chagrin partagé, chagrin diminué; plaisir partagé, plaisir doublé.
    • Joy shared, joy doubled: sorrow shared, sorrow halved.
    • Also: Joy shared, joy doubled: sorrow shared, sorrow halved.
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 249. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Chaque chose vaut son prix.
    • Everything is worth its price.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 800. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Chaque jour une pomme conserve son homme.
    • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
    • Bulman, Françoise (1998). Dictionnaire des proverbes anglais-français, français-anglais. Presses Université Laval. p. 58.
  • Charité bien ordonnée commence par soi-même.
    • Charity begins at home.
    • “If we neglect objects of charity at home, or within the circle of our immediate acquaintance, to extend our good deeds to those abroad, our sincerity, our motives, and our character, are suspected, and there is ground of suspicion. For it is in the order of nature to relieve, first, by our liberality and benefactions, those connected with us, – our families, and immediate neighborhood.”
    • Source for meaning of Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order …. Munroe and Company. p. 51.
    • Adrien de Montluc, La Comédie de Proverbes, Act III., Scene VII (translated by Le Prevost); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 29 (reported in Harbotle as “soy-même”, rather than “soi-même”).
  • Chat échaudé craint l’eau froide.
    • A scalded cat fears cold water.
    • Once bitten, twice shy.
    • If you ever have been hurt by something, you’ll be over-cautious of anything that even looks the same.
    • Adrien de Montluc, La Comédie de Proverbes, Act I, Scene VI (translated by Macee); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 30.
  • Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop.
    • Chase away the natural and it returns at a gallop.
    • If you cast out nature with a fork, it will still return.
    • Philippe Néricault Destouches, Le Glorieux, Act III., Scene V (translated by Lisette); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 29.
  • Cherchons la femme.
    • Let us look for the woman.
    • A woman is probably at the heart of the quarrel.
    • Alexandre Dumas, père, Les Mohicans de Paris, Vol. II., Chapter XL (translation by M. Jackal); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 30. Alternately reported as Cherchez la femme (“Look for the woman”).
  • Chien qui aboie ne mord pas.
    • Barking dogs seldom bite.
    • Meaning: People who make the most or the loudest threats are the least likely to take action.
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 20 June 2013.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 97. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Choisissez votre femme par l’oreille bien plus que par les yeux.
    • Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 655. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Comme on fait son lit, on se couche.
    • As you make your bed, so you must lie.
    • “You must put up with the unpleasant results of a foolish action or decision.”
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
  • Comparaison n’est pas raison.
    • Comparisons are odious.
    • Meaning: “People and things should be judged on the individual qualities they posses, rather than by comparing one with another.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 7 August 2013.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 320. ISBN 0415160502.
  • C’est dans le besoin qu’on reconnaît ses vrais amis.
    • A friend in need is a friend indeed.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 43. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Ce n’est pas aux vieux singes qu’on apprend à faire des grimaces.
    • You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 116. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Coffre ouvert, rend le saint pervers.
    • A nice wife and a back door oft make a rich man poor.
    • Emanuel Strauss (1994). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 348. ISBN 978-1-136-78971-7.
  • Coucher de poule et lever de corbeau écartent l’homme du tombeau.
    • Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
    • “A lifestyle that involves neither staying up late nor sleeping late is good for body and mind and leads to financial success.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 5 September 2013.
    • Source: Bulman, F, F. (1998). Dictionnaire Des Proverbes Anglais-Francais, Francais-Anglais. Presses de l’Université Laval. p. 69. ISBN 9782763776064.
  • Courte priére pénètre les cieux .
    • Short prayers reach heaven.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 75.
  • D’un costé Dieu poingt, de l’autre il vingt. (old French)
    • God who gives the wound gives the salve.
    • “What makes a problem a problem is not that a large amount of search is required for its solution, but that a large amount would be required if a requisite level of intelligence were not applied.”
    • Allen Newell and Herbert Simon, (1975) Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search. Turing Award Lecture. p. 122
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 874. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Dans le doute, abstiens-toi.
    • When in doubt, leave it out.
    • Meaning: “If you are unsure what to do, it is best to do nothing at all.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1223. ISBN 0415096243.
  • De la mesure dont nous mesurons les autres nous serons mesurés.
    • Whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt back to you.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1219. ISBN 0415096243.
  • De mauvais grain jamais bon pain.
    • A golden bit does not make the horse any better.
    • “To those who are given to virtue, the boast of titles is wholly alien and distasteful.”
    • Petrarch, “On the Various Academic Titles,” De remediis utriusque fortunae, C. Rawski, trans. (1967), p. 73
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 52. ISBN 0415160502.
  • De qui je me fie Dieu me garde.
    • A man’s worst enemies are often those of his own house.
    • “I wish to persuade the reader that, whatever the arguments may be, reason lays no embargo upon happiness; nay, more, I am persuaded that those who quite sincerely attribute their sorrows to their views about the universe are putting the cart before the horse: the truth is that they are unhappy for some reason of which they are not aware, and this unhappiness leads them to dwell upon the less agreeable characteristics of the world in which they live.”
    • Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness (1930)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 52. ISBN 0415096243.
  • De tout s’avise à qui pain faut.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 638. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Deux ancres sont bonnes au navire.
    • Good riding at two anchors, men have told, for if the one fails, the other may hold.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Diviser pour régner.
    • Divide and conquer.
    • Meaning: “The best way to conquer or control a group of people is by encouraging them to fight among themselves rather than allowing them to unite in opposition to the ruling authority.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 13 August 2013.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “823”. Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6.
  • Don d’ennemi c’est malencontreux.
    • This advice has its root in the story of the Trojan Horse, the treacherous subterfuge by which the Greeks finally overcame their trojan adversaries at the end of the Trojan War.
    • Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.
    • Meaning: “Do not trust gifts or favors if they come from an enemy.”
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser; David H. Pickering (2003). The Facts On File Dictionary of Classical and Biblical Allusions. Infobase Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-8160-4868-7. Retrieved on 1 July 2013.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 855. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Donnant donnant.
    • You don’t get nothing for nothing.
    • Meaning: “Everything has to be paid for, directly or indirectly, in money or in kind.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 314. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1111. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Donner un oeuf pour avoir une fève.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1134. ISBN 0415096243.
  • En peu d’heure Dieu labeure
    • God works in moments
    • Meaning: “Grand moments” are significantly important
    • Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1903). The Complete works of Ralph Waldo Emerson; with a biographical introd. and notes by Edward Waldo Emerson, and a general index7 (Centenary ed.). London: constable. p. 178.
    • Meaning: His work is soon done
    • Wood, James (1893). Dictionary of quotations from ancient and modern, English and foreign sources. London, New York: Warne. p. 82. OCLC 1040547521.
  • En toute chose il faut considérer la fin.
    • Whatever you do, act wisely, and consider the end.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 600. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Entre l’arbre et l’écorce il ne faut pas mettre le doigt.
    • “Don’t go between the tree and the bark.”
    • Meaning: Do not interfere when two parts are having an argument.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 729. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Envie est toujours en vie.
    • Envy takes no holiday.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 767. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Faire d’une mouche un éléphant.
    • Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations (W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue) ed.). p. 58.
  • Faire le pas plus long que la jambe.
    • Don’t have too many irons in the fire.
    • “Every man naturally persuades himself that he can keep his resolutions.”
    • Samuel Johnson, Prayers and Meditations, (1785).
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 977. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Faire un cygne d’un oison.
    • Every man thinks his own geese swans.
    • “This proverb imitates that an inbred Philauty runs through the whole Race of Flefh and Blood. It blinds the Underftanding, perverts the Judgment and depraves the Reafon of the Diftinguishers of Truth and Falfity.”
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [1]
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 42.
  • Fais comme je dis, non comme j’agis.
    • Preachers say: Do as I say, not as I do.
    • “It bears no reason that others should show greater love to me, than I have showed them.”
    • John Locke, Second Tract of Government (1662)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 706. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Fais ce que tu peux, si tu ne peux faire ce que tu veux.
    • Do as you may, if you can’t do as you could.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 707. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Faute avouée est à moitié pardonnée.
    • A fault confessed is a half redressed.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 37. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Faute de mieux le roi couche avec sa femme.
    • Gnaw the bone which is fallen to thy lot.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 865. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Femme bonne vaut une couronne.
    • A cheerful wife is the spice of life.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 20. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Ferveur de novice ne dure pas.
    • New brooms sweep clean.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1103. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Folle est la brebis qui au loup se confesse.
    • It’s a foolish sheep that makes the wolf his confessor.
    • How can we expect others to keep our secrets if we cannot keep them ourselves?
    • François de La Rochefoucauld, Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665–1678)
    • Le Roux de Lincy (1859). Le livre des proverbes français: précédé de recherches historiques sur les proverbes français et leur emploi dans la littérature du moyen âge et de la renaissance. Slatkine Reprints. p. 152.
  • Fuis le plaisir qui amène repentir.
    • Avoid the pleasure which will bite tomorrow.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 11.
  • Gardez-vous des faux prophètes.
    • Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, and inwardly are ravening wolves.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 170. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Hâtez-vous lentement.
    • More haste, less speed.
    • Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, L’Art Poitiqueé, I., 171; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 54.
  • Heureux sont les enfants dont les pères sont damnés.
    • No one gets rich quickly if he is honest.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 963. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il faut casser le noyau pour avoir l’amande
    • Pronunciation: il fo kase lə nwajo puʁ avwaʁ lamɑ̃d
      Literal translation: You have to break the shell to have the almond
      Origin: Attributed to Roman philosopher and playwright Plautus
      English equivalent: No pain, no gain
  • Il faut bonne mémoire après qu’on a menti .
    • A liar should have a good memory.
    • “Liars must remember the untruths they have told, to avoid contradicting themselves at some later date.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “274”. Dictionary of European ProverbsI. Routledge. p. 257. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. Retrieved on 24 November 2013.
  • Il faut donner au diable son dû.
    • Give the devil his due.
    • “Bad conduct soils the finest ornament more than filth.”
    • Plautus, Mostellaria, I. 3. 133.
    • Flonta, Teodor (2002). God and the Devil: Proverbs in 9 European Languages. Teodor Flonta. p. 21. ISBN 1875943412.
  • Il faut casser le noyau pour en avoir l’amande.
    • He that would eat the kernel must crack the nut.
    • “Nothing is achieved without effort.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Caroline Ward (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 56.
  • Il faut être matelot avant d’être capitaine.
    • Who has not served cannot command.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 660. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • Il faut être deux pour danser le tango.
    • It takes two to tango.
    • “The reason that there are so few good conversationalists is that most people are thinking about what they are going to say and not about what the others are saying.”
    • François de La Rochefoucauld, Réflexions diverses, IV: De la conversation. (1731)
    • Frenette, M. (2009). Il Faut Être Deux Pour Danser Le Tango, Michel Frenette.
  • Il faut laisser aller le monde comme il va.
    • We need to let the world go the way it is.
    • Let nature take its course/ There’s two sides to every penny.
    • In Voltaire’s “Le Monde Comme Il Va”, the protagonist Babouk utters these words to a powerful magical being when questioned whether the world is nothing but bad and should be destroyed. It means to accept the way the world is and that no matter how corrupt or backward a society seems, there is always a nugget of beauty and wisdom that stems from each one.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 865. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il faut laver son linge sale en famille.
    • Don’t wash your dirty linen in public; It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest.
    • “Why wantonly proclaim one’s own disgrace, or expose the faults or weaknesses of one’s kindred or people?” “It is considered contemptible to defy the rule of solidarity by revealing facts harmful to the group one belongs to.”
    • Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 109.
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). “106”. European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 466. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
    • Napoleon, reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 61, referencing Balzac, Eugénie Grandet, p. 184.
  • Il faut manger pour vivre, et non pas vivre pour manger.
    • Gluttony kills more than the sword.
    • Molière, L’Avare, Act III., Scene V (translated by Valére); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 61.
  • Il faut prêcher d’exemple.
    • Lead by example.
    • “Example has more followers than reason.”
    • Christian Nestell Bovee, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought (1862)
    • “Men trust their ears less than their eyes.”
    • Herodotus The Histories
    • “Example is always more efficacious than precept.”
    • Samuel Johnson, Rasselas (1759)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 55. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Il faut reculer pour mieux sauter.
    • One must step back to take a good leap.
    • “Information processing keeps going on even when we are not aware of it, even while we are asleep.”
    • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention (1997)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 62.
  • Il faut réfléchir avant d’agir.
    • Look before you leap.
    • “The man who thinks before he acts, is most likely to act with discretion, and have no future cause to repent of his conduct; but he who acts blindly, without any foresight, will probably suffer for his rashness.”
    • Trusler, John (1790). Proverbs exemplified, and illustrated by pictures from real life. p. 115.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1069. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il faut qu’une porte soit ouverte ou fermée.
    • A door must be either shut or open.
    • When someone just writes ‘f**k, f**k, f**k’, we just fix it, laugh and move on. But the difficult social issues are the borderline cases — people who do some good work, but who are also a pain in the neck.”
    • Jimmh Wales, As quoted in “Who knows?”, The Guardian (26 October 2004)
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 97. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Il faut battre le fer pendant qu’il est chaud.
    • Strike while the iron is hot.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 1080. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • Il n’est pas chance qui ne retourne.
    • Opportunity knocks only once.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 400. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il n’est rien tel qui balai neuf.
    • A new broome sweepeth cleane.
    • “We should never use an old tool when the extra labor in consequence costs more than a new one. Thousands wear out their lives and waste their time merely by the use of dull and unsuitable instruments.”
    • “We often apply it to exchanges among servants, clerks, or any persons employed, whose service, at first, in any new place, is very good, both efficient and faithful; but very soon, when all the new circumstances have lost their novelty, and all their curiosity has ceased, they naturally fall into their former and habitual slackness.”
    • Source for meaning: Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order …. Munroe and Company. p. 38.
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). “12”. European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 92. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
  • Il ne convient pas à fol qu’on lui rende cloche au col.
    • A tongue of a fool carves a piece of his heart to all that sit near him.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 136. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il ne faut jamais quitter le certain pour l’incertain.
    • He that leaves certainty and sticks to chance,
      When fools pipe, he may dance.
    • “Be they wynners or loosers,…beggers should be no choosers.”
    • John Heywood’s Proverbs and Epigrams (1562 ed.)
    • Caroline Ward (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 50.
  • Il ne faut pas brûler la chandelle par les deux bouts.
    • Don’t burn the candles at both ends.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1137. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il ne faut pas changer d’attelage au milieu d’un gué.
    • Don’t change horses in midstream.
    • When in water it is ardous to mount and dismount. “Once you have embarked on a course of action or an undertaking, it is better not to change your tactics or methods along the way.”
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 August 2013.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “857”. Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6.
  • Il ne faut pas jeter les perles devant les poureaux.
    • Do not throw pearls before swine.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 22.
  • Il ne faut pas jouer avec le feu.
    • Do not play with edged tools.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 716. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il ne faut point parler de corde dans la maison d’un pendu.
    • Name not a rope in his house who hanged himself.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 86.
  • Il n’y a point d’église où le diable n’ait sa chapelle.
    • Where god has a church the devil will have his chapel.
    • “Very seldom does any good thing arise but there comes an ugly phantom of a caricature of it.”
    • Source for meaning: Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations (W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue) ed.). p. 130.
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 874. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il n’y a point d’homme necessaire.
    • No man is indispensable.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 319. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Il n’y a que la foi que sauve.
    • Faith is half the battle.
    • “The most honorable, as well as the safest course, is to rely entirely upon valour.”
    • Livy, Ab Urbe Condita Libri
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 812. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il n’est pire aveugle que celui qui ne veut pas voir.
    • There are none so blind as they who will not see.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 320. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Il ne faut pas faire ces choses a moitié.
    • If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
    • Runge, Martin (2000). Geriatrische Rehabilitation im Therapeutischen Team (2 ed.). Georg Thieme Verlag. p. 282. ISBN 3131023821.
  • Il ne faut pas se fier aux apparences.
    • Appearances decieves.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 124. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Il ne faut pas mettre tous ses œufs dans le même panier.
    • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
    • ‘”Spread your risks or investments so that if one enterprise fails you will not lose everything.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 August 2013.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 715. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • Il n’y a pas de fumée sans feu.
    • Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
    • Source: Marchand, C. (1905). Five thousand French idioms, Gallicisms, proverbs, idiomatic adverbs, idiomatic adjectives, idiomatic comparisons (book). J. Terquem et cie.. p. 290.
  • Il ne faut pas réveiller le chat qui dort.
    • Let sleeping dogs lie.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 1055. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué.
    • Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.
    • Don’t sell the bearskin before you’ve killed the bear.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 640. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • Il tirerait de l’huile d’un mur.
    • Derive the oil of a wall.
    • All is fish that comes to the net.
    • Meaning: “Anything that comes along is accepted and turned to advantage.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007), The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs, Infobase Publishing, p. 5, ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5, retrieved on 16 June 2013
    • {{cite book | last1 = Mawr | first = E.B. | year = 1885 | titl
  • Il vaut mieux suer que trembler.
    • Better to hold with the hound than run with the hare.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 17. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Il vaut mieux plier que rompre.
    • Better bow than break.
    • Meaning: “It is better to make some confession, or pay a little deference to others, our neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and especially our superiors, rather than lose our credit or break friendship.”
    • Source for meaning of Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order …. Munroe and Company. p. 46.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 20.
  • Il vaut mieux qu’on dise “il court-là”, qu'”il gît ici”.
    • He who fights and runs away may live to fight another day.
    • “It is wiser to withdraw from a situation that you cannot win than to go on fighting and lose – by a strategic retreat you can return to the battle or argument with renewed energy at a later date.”
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 702. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il y a serpent caché sous des fleurs.
    • Look before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1070. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il y a péril en la demeure.
    • There is danger in delay.
    • “Hesitation or procastination may lead to trouble or disaster.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 10 August 2013.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 695. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Il ya anguille sous rouche.
    • English equivalent: To smell a rat.
    • Isaac Marcus Calisch (1876). Proverbes et locutions familières en quatre langues: (français-anglais-allemand-hollandais) : avec une liste alphabétique pour chaque langue séparément. Belinfante. p. 110.
  • Jamais deux sans trois.
    • When it rains it pours.
    • Dictionnaire des proverbes anglais-français, français-anglais. Presses Université Laval. 1 January 1998. p. 54. ISBN 978-2-7637-7606-4.
  • Jamais paresseux n’eut grande écuelle.
    • Poverty is the reward of idleness.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “267”. Dictionary of European ProverbsI. Routledge. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7.
  • Je crains l’homme d’un seul livre.
    • Fear the man of one book.
    • Meaning: people who are not well-read are likely to be unreasonable.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 851. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Jamais honteux n’eut belle amie.
    • Faint heart never won fair lady.
    • “Our lack of confidence is not the result of difficulty. The difficulty comes from our lack of confidence.”
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium (65)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 30.
  • Jeter de l’huile sur le feu.
    • To add fuel to the fire.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 78.
  • Jeunneuse pauresse, viellise pouilleuse.
    • Diligent youth makes easy age.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 701. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Juge hâtif est périlleux.
    • Quick judgments are dangerous.
    • Hasty judgment leads to repentance.
    • Meaning: A quick evaluation is a terrible evaluation.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 196. ISBN 0415096243.
  • L’argent est fait pour rouler.
    • Money is there to be spent.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1013. ISBN 0415096243.
  • L’attaque est la meilleure défence.
    • The best defence is a good offense.
    • “You are more likely to win if you take the initiative and make an attack rather than preparing to defend yourself.”
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 30 June 2013.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 518. ISBN 0415096243.
  • La belle plume fait le bel oiseau.
    • Fine feathers make fine birds.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 30.
  • La confiance appelle la confiance.
    • Confidence begets confidence.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 187. ISBN 0415096243.
  • La femme du cordonnier est toujours mal chaussée.
    • The cobbler’s wife is the worst shod.
    • “Working hard for others one may neglect one’s own needs or the needs of those closest to him.”
    • Source for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). “7”. European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 65. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
  • La fortune ne fait pas le bonheur.
    • Wealth rarely brings happiness.
    • “The rich guys buy a football team, the poor guys buy a football. It’s all relative.”
    • Martina Navratilova, Martina (1985).
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 670. ISBN 0415096243.
  • La nuit tous les chats sont gris.
    • At night all cats are grey.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 10.
  • La parole a été donnée à l’homme pour déguiser sa pensée.
    • Men talk only to conceal the mind.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs, Volym 1. Routledge. p. 1088. ISBN 0415096243.
  • La parole s’enfuit, et l’écriture demeure.
    • Paper is forbearing.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1160. ISBN 0415096243.
  • La punition boite, mais elle arrive.
    • Punishment is lame but it comes.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 682. ISBN 0415096243.
  • La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure.
    • Might is always right.
    • Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, I., 10, “Le Loup et L’Agneau”; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 116.
  • La répétition est la mère de la mémoire.
    • Repetition is the mother of memory.
    • “Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.”
    • Samuel Johnson, The Rambler (1750)
    • Méchin, Colette (1998). Anthropologie du sensoriel: les sens dans tous les sens (Illustrated ed.). Harmattan. p. 102. ISBN 2738471129.
  • La seconde pensée est la meilleure.
    • Second thoughts are best.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 73.
  • La variété plaît.
    • Variety is the spice of life.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 0415160502.
  • La vérité est dans le vin.
    • In wine there is truth.
    • “Alcohol consumed removes the inhibition against telling the truth that occasionally one would like to keep secret.”
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 272. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
  • La vérité se dit en badinant.
    • Many a true words are spoken in jest.
    • “A joke’s a very serious thing.”
    • Charles Churchill, The Ghost (1763), book iv, line 1386
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). p. 57.
  • La parole est l’ombre du fait.
    • Deeds are fruits, words are but leaves.
    • “Mere words have no value unless they are followed by positive action.”
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 26.
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 9 August 2013.
  • Langue muette n’est jamais battue.
    • Least said, soonest mended.
    • “In private animosities and verbal contentions, where angry passions are apt to rise, and irritating, if not profane expressions are often made use of, the least said, the better in general. By multiplying words, cases often grow worse instead of better.”
    • Source for meaning of Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order …. Munroe and Company. pp. 125.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 975. ISBN 0415096243.
  • L’essentiel du courage c’est la prudence.
    • Discretion is the better part of valor.
    • “The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”
    • J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 10 August 2013.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 702. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Le fait juge l’homme.
    • The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
    • “The taste, not the looks, must constitute the criterion. It may be like, many other things, beautiful externally but within devoid of every excellence.”
    • William Henry Porter (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order …. Munroe and Company. p. 176.
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 304. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Le mal appelle le mal.
    • Deep calls to deep.
    • “The more of the context of a problem that a scientist can comprehend, the greater are his chances of finding a truly adequate solution.”
    • Russell L. Ackoff, The development of operations research as a science (1956)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 695. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Le meilleur n’en vaut rien.
    • Bad is the best choice.
    • “I always search good in bad. l also search bad in good.”
    • Vennu Malesh, It’s My Life (2012)
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 17.
  • Le miel est doux, mais l’abeille pique.
    • He that will not endure the bitter, will not live to see the sweet.
    • “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
    • Michael Jordan, As quoted in Nike Culture : The Sign of the Swoosh (1998), by Robert Goldman and Stephen Papson, p. 49
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 837. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Les fous inventent les modes, et les sages les suivent.
    • A fool may give a wise man counsel.
    • “Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers.”
    • Muhammad, The Last Sermon of Muhammad delivered on the Ninth Day of Dhul Hijjah 10 A.H (c. 630 AD)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 40. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Le plus grand malheur ou bonheur de l’homme est une femme.
    • English equivalents: Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye.
    • Use great prudence and circumspection, in choosing thy wife, for from thence will spring all thy future good or evil; and it is an action of life like unto a stratagem of war, wherein a man can err but once.
    • William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, Certain Precepts Or Directions for the Well-Ordering and Carriage of a Man’s Life (c. 1584, first published 1617).
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 65. ISBN 0415096243.
  • La pomme ne tombe jamais loin de l’arbre.
    • The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    • “Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents.”
    • Source for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 259. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
  • Le remède est pire que le mal.
    • The remedy is often worse than the disease; Burn not your house to rid it off the mouse.
    • “Action taken to put something right is often more unpleasant or damaging than the original problem.”
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. entry 646. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Le temps et l’usage rendent l’homme sage.
    • Books know more than years.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 660. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • Le trop de précautions ne nuit jamais.
    • Better safe than sorry.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 881. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Les absents ont toujours tort.
    • The absent are always in the wrong.
    • “One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on. And when you do find somebody, it’s remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver’s license.”
    • Patrick Jake O’Rourke Rolling Stone (30 November 1989)
  • “Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man. Yes? Well socialism is exactly the reverse.”
    • Len Deighton, quoting an anonymous Czechoslovakian joke in the 1960s, in Funeral in Berlin (1964), p. 145.
    • Philippe Néricault Destouches, L’Obstacle Imprévu, Act I., Scene VI (translation by Nérine); alternately reported as “L’absent a toujours tort” (“The absent are always in the wrong”), Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile, Livre IV; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 140.
  • Les cordonniers sont les plus mal chaussés.
    • The shoemaker goes barefoot.
    • “Working hard for others one may neglect one’s own needs or the needs of those closest to him.”
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 65. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
    • Dictionnaire des proverbes anglais-français, français-anglais. Presses Université Laval. 1 January 1998. p. 106. ISBN 978-2-7637-7606-4. Retrieved on 8 August 2013.
  • Les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas.
    • There’s no accounting for tastes; Different strokes suit different folks.
    • “Criticism, whatever may be its pretensions, never does more than to define the impression which is made upon it at a certain moment by a work wherein the writer himself noted the impression of the world.”
    • James Branch Cabell, in The Certain Hour (1916).
    • Henry, Jacqueline (2003). La traduction des jeux de mots. Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle. p. 63. ISBN 2878542487.
  • Les soucis font blanchir les cheveux de bonne heure.
    • Fretting cares make grey hairs.
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 631. ISBN 0415096243.
  • L’enfer est pavé de bonnes intentions.
    • The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
    • McGrath, Edna Arseneault (2004). Voir l’invisible, réaliser l’impossible: biographie de Jean-Paul Losier. Editions Melonic. p. 33. 2923080068.
  • L’envie s’attache à la gloire.
    • Envy always shooteth at a high mark.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 766. ISBN 0415096243.
  • L’habit ne fait pas le moine.
    • You can’t judge a book by its cover.
    • Ndedi-Penda, P. (2003). L’habit ne fait pas le moine, Publications Galaxie.
  • L’histoire se répéte.
    • Something that has happened once can happen again.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 977. ISBN 0415096243.
  • L’homme propose, et Dieu dispose.
    • Man proposes, God disposes; Everything in its season.
    • “Plans are insulted destinies. I don’t have plans, I only have goals.”
    • Ash Chandler, Freudian SlipMumbai Mirror Buzz, April 2006.
    • Source: Bohn, Henry George (1857). A Polyglott of Foreign Proverbs. p. 37.
  • L’honnêteté est la meilleure politique.
    • Honesty is the best policy.
    • “Being honest or telling the truth is always the wisest course of action.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 42.
  • L’on passe la haie par où elle est plus basse.
    • Men leap over where the hedge is lower.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1087. ISBN 0415096243.
  • L’on ne saurait écorcher une pierre.
    • You can’t milk a bull.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1040. ISBN 0415096243.
  • L’or force le verrou.
    • A golden key opens any gate but that of heaven.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 31.
  • Le chien aboit, la caravane passe.
    • The dogs bark, but the caravan passes on.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 340. ISBN 0415160502.
  • La fortune sourit aux audacieux.
    • Fortune favours the brave.
    • “Those who act boldly or courageously are most likely to succeed.”
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 871. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • Le fil ténu casse.
    • A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
    • Meaning: “A weak part or member will affect the success or effectiveness of the whole.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 31 July 2013.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 19. ISBN 0415160502.
  • L’espoir fait vivre.
    • Where there’s life, there’s hope.
    • Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 982. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • Les habitudes ont la vie dure.
    • Old habits die hard.
    • Source: Revue internationale de philosophie Source: v. 57 223–226.
  • Les bons comptes font les bons amis.
    • Short reckonings make long friends.
    • Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 674. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • Le monde appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt.
    • Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
    • Lamy, M.N.; Towell, R. (1998). The Cambridge French-English Thesaurus. Cambridge University Press. p. 33. ISBN 9780521425810.
  • Les apparences sont trompeuses.
    • All that glitters is not gold.
    • Meaning: An attractive appearance may be deceptive. It may cover or hide a much less favourable content.
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 114. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 15. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Les grands voleurs pendent les petits.
    • Men are like fish, the big ones devour the small.
    • “A weak person/group/community/country can be an easy prey to an immoral, powerful one.”
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1086. ISBN 0415096243.
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 420. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
  • Les rats quittent le navire qui coule.
    • Rats desert a sinking ship.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1150. ISBN 0415096243.
  • La nuit porte conseil.
    • Night brings counsel.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 188. ISBN 0415160502.
  • La parole est d’argent, mais le silence est d’or.
    • Speech is silver, Silence is golden.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 257. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Loin des yeux, loin du cœur.
    • Out of sight, out of mind.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 814. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • Les murs ont des oreilles.
    • Walls have ears.
    • “What you say may be overheard; used as a warning.”
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 287. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 27 September 2013.
    • Source: Courbou, Michèle (2006). Les murs ont des oreilles, Volume 58 of L’écailler du Sud. Les Editions L’Ecailler du Sud. pp. 351. ISBN 2914264828.
  • Les plaisanteries les plus courtes sont les meilleures.
    • Brevity is the soul of wit.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 174. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Les premiers seront les derniers.
    • The last will be first, and the first last.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1085. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Les volontés sont libres.
    • His own desire leads every man.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 977. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Mettre la charrue devant les bœufs.
    • Don’t put the cart before the horse.
    • “It is important to do things in the right or natural order.”
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 18 August 2013.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 106.
  • Mieux vaut que entre fou avec tous que sage tout seul.
    • Better foolish by all than wise by yourself.
    • Emanuel Strauss. “70”. Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs.
  • Mieux vaut savoir que richesse.
    • A good mind possess a kingdom.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 58. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Mieux vaut peu que rien.
    • Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 75. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Mieux vaut tenir que courir.
    • A bird in hand is worth two in a bush.
    • “Something you have for certain now is of more value than something better you may get, especially if you risk losing what you have in order to get it.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 29 July 2013.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 8. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Mieux vaut être seul que mal accompagné.
    • Better be alone than in bad company.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 163. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Mieux vaut faire que dire.
    • Well done is better than well said.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 191. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir.
    • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 8. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Mieux vaut un présent que deux futurs.
    • One today is worth two tomorrows.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1137. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Nature passe nourriture, et nourriture survainc nature.
    • Nature is beyond all teaching.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 764. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Ne meurs cheval, herbe te vient.
    • While the grass grows the steed starves.
    • Meaning: Dreams or expectations may be realized too late.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1228. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Ne te mêle pas des affaires d’autrui.
    • Give neither salt nor counsel till you are asked for it.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 60.
  • Ne touchez pas aux blessures guéries.
    • It is not wise to open old wounds.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 45.
  • La nuit porte conseil.
    • The night brings counsel.
    • Take counsel of one’s pillow.
    • Note: Specified as a French proverb in the source.
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations (W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue) ed.). p. 63.
  • Noblesse oblige.
    • Nobility forces.
    • Meaning: With great resources comes great responsibility.
    • Applegate, S. (2009). Noblesse Oblige: Spending Your Life on What Matters Most, Tate Pub & Enterprises Llc.
  • Oignez vilain, il vous poindra. Poignez vilain, il vous oindra.
    • Anoint a villain, he will stab you; stab a villain, he will anoint you (oindre and poindre being outdated verbs)
    • François Rabelais, Gargantua, I., 32; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 166.
  • On a que ce que l’on mérite.
    • What goes around comes around.
    • Labourdette, Jean-Paul (2007). Le Petit Futé Grenoble (23 ed.). Petit Futé. p. 9. ISBN 2746919494.
  • On ne tue pas le loup parce qu’il est gris, mais parce qu’il a dévoré la brebis.
    • The sin is not in the sinning, but in the being found out.
    • Emanuel Strauss (1994). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 348. ISBN 978-1-136-78971-7.
  • On naît poète, on devient orateur.
    • Poets are born, but orators are trained.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 331. ISBN 0415160502.
  • On n’est jamais si bien servi que par soi-même.
    • If you want something done right, do it yourself.
    • Charles-Guillaume Étienne, Bruïs et Palaprat, Sc. II. — (translation by Palaprat); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 169.
  • On revient toujours
    à ses premières amours.

    • True love never rusts.
    • Charles-Guillaume Étienne, Joconde, Act III., Scene I (translation by Joconde); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 172.
  • On ne change pas une équipe qui gagne.
    • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
    • Source: Mould, Michael (2011). The Routledge Dictionary of Cultural References in Modern French. Taylor & Francis. p. 51. ISBN 1136825738.
  • On ne fait pas boire un âne qui n’a pas soif.
    • You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
    • Source: Strauss, E. (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 1016. ISBN 9780415103800.
  • On ne jette des pierres qu’a l’arbre chargé de fruits.
    • No enemies is a sign fortune forgotten you.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1008. ISBN 0415096243.
  • On ne peut aider qui ne veut point écouter.
    • He that will not be counseled cannot be helped.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 964. ISBN 0415096243.
  • On ne prend pas les oiseaux à la tartelle.
    • Deal gently with the bird you mean to catch.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 689. ISBN 0415096243.
  • On prend plus de mouches avec du miel qu’avec du vinaigre.
    • You can catch more flies with a drop of honey than with a barrel of vinegar.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 100.
  • Par savoir vient avoir.
    • Learning is the eye of the mind.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 149. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Patience et longueur de temps font plus que force ni que rage.
    • English equivalent. He that can have patience can have what he will.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 87. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Patience passe science.
    • An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 415. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Pendant le faveur de la fortune, il faut se préparer à sa défaveur.
    • If fortune favours, beware of being exalted; if fortune thunders, beware of being overwhelmed.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1001. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Personne ne peut être juge dans sa propre cause.
    • No one can be the judge in his own case.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1038. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid
    • Pronunciation:pəti a pəti lwazo fɛ sɔ̃ ni
      Literal translation: Little by little, the bird builds its nest
      English equivalent: Step by step one goes far or every little helps
  • Petit poisson deviendra grand.
    • The little fish will grow big.
    • Jean de La Fontaine, “Le petit Poisson et le Pêcheur”, Fables, V., 3; reported in Thomas pogield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 177.
  • Pierre qui roule n’amasse pas mousse.
    • A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • “There are a Set of People in the World who before they are well fettled in one Habitation, remove to another: fuch Perfons fall under the Doom of this Proverb.”
    • Source for meaning of Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [3]
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). “14”. European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 100. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
  • Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
    • Variant: Plus ça change, plus c’est pareil.
    • The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    • “You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more – I want better.”
    • Ray Bradbury, Beyond 1984: The People Machines. (1979)
    • An epigram by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in the January 1849 issue of his journal Les Guêpes (“The Wasps”).
  • Pour estimer le doux, il faut goûter de l’amer.
    • To taste the sweet, you must taste the bitter.
    • No pain, no gain; Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    • Meaning: Where there is no adversity of some sort there is seldom anything to win; No or little adversity is a sign that fortune has forgotten you.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 33.
  • Pour un de perdu, deux de retrouvés.
    • When one door closes another opens.
    • Meaning: “When baffled in one direction a man of energy will not despair, but will find another way to his object.”
    • Source for meaning of Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 67.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 845. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Prudence est la mère de súreté.
    • Diffidence is the right eye of prudence.
    • Meaning: Diffidently pondering something will often lead to a sensible solution.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 701. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Quand on dîne avec le diable, il faut se munir d’une longue cuiller.
    • If you are going to eat with the devil, you must have a long spoon.
    • Meaning: Someone who treats others badly will eventually turn on you.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 920. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Quand on n’a pas ce que l’on aime, il faut aimer ce que l’on a.
    • If we have not the thing we love, then must we love the thing we have.
    • Bussy Rabutin, Lettre à Mme. de Sivigni (23 May, 1667); variant “n’a pas ce qu’on aime”, by Thomas Corneille, L’lnconnuNouveau Prologue, Scene II (translation by Crispin); both reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 188.
  • Quand on n’a pas de tête, il faut avoir des jambes.
    • Who falls short in the head must be long in the heels.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “149”. Dictionary of European ProverbsI. Routledge. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7.
  • Quand on n’avance pas, on recule.
    • He who does not advance goes backwards.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 445. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Qui a age, doit être sage.
    • Reason does not come before years.
    • Meaning: Wisdom acquired by adversity makes us reasonable as we get older.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1150. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Qui a bu, boira.
    • Once a drunkard always a drunkard; Once a thief always a thief.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 771. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Qui a froid souffle le feu.
    • English equivalent: Fuel without fire is soon quenched.
    • “You will find rest from vain fancies if you perform every act in life as though it were your last.”
    • Marcus Aurelius, ‘Meditations (c. 121–180 AD)
    • “Nothing is so hateful to the philistine as the ‘dreams of his youth.’ … For what appeared to him in his dreams was the voice of the spirit, calling him once, as it does everyone. It is of this that youth always reminds him, eternally and ominously. That is why he is antagonistic toward youth.
    • Walter Benjamin, “Experience” (1913) as translated by L. Spencer and S. Jost, in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Vol. 1 (1996), pp. 4-5
    • Caroline Ward (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 77.
  • Qui a tête de cire ne doit pas s’approcher du feu.
    • He who has a wax head must not go near the fire.
    • He that hath a head of wax must not walk in the sun.
    • Meaning: Know your limitations and weaknesses; Don’t do something that is sure to damage you.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 54.
  • Qui aime Dieu est sûr en tout lieu.
    • He who serves God has a good master.
    • “The greatest weakness of all weaknesses is to fear too much to appear weak.”
    • Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Politique Tirée de l’Écriture Sainte (Politics Drawn from the Very Words of Holy Scripture) (1679 – published 1709).
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 873. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Que bien aime, tard oublie.
    • True love never grows old.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1107. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Qui court deux lièvres à la fois, n’en prend aucun.
    • You must not run after two hares at the same time.
    • Meaning: “Concentrate on one thing at a time or you will achieve nothing. – Trying to do two or more things at a time, when even one on its own needs full effort, means that none of them will be accomplished properly.”
    • Source for meaning of Paczolay, Gyula (1997). “X”. European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. X. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 102.
  • Qui écoute aux portes, entend souvent sa propre honte.
    • Eavesdroppers hear no good of themselves.
    • Meaning: “People who eavesdrop on the conversations of others risk hearing unfavorable comments about themselves; used as a warning or reprimand.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “250”. Dictionary of European ProverbsI. Routledge. p. 238. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 764. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Qui m’aime aime mon chien.
    • Love me, love my dog.
    • Who loves me, loves my dog.
    • Compare in Latin: Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.
    • Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), French abbot (and who is not the St Bernard for whom that breed of dog is named, that’s Bernard of Menthon). Quoted by Nigel Rees in Why Do We Say? (1987).
  • Qui mal commence, mal achève.
    • A bad beginning makes a bad ending.
    • Meaning: “It is as impossible that a system radically erroneous, once commenced, should end well, as it is that a mathematical problem, commenced wrong, should come out right.”
    • Source for meaning: William Henry Porter (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order …. Munroe and Company. p. 202.
    • Emanuel Strauss (1994). “1”. Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6.
  • Qui ne fait pas quand póte, nu face cand vrea.
    • He that will not when he may, when he will he may have nay.
    • Meaning: “Take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself, even if you do not want or need it at the time, because it may no longer be available when you do.”
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent:Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations. W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue). p. 41.
  • Qui ne risque rien n’a rien.
    • Who risks nothing, gets nothing.
    • Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    • Meaning: It is necessary to take risks in order to achieve something.
    • Hiligsmann, Theissen (2008). Néerlandais – Expressions et proverbes: Intermédiaire-avancé. De Boeck Supérieur. p. 338. ISBN 2804159671.
  • Qui ne sait obéir, ne sait commander.
    • Who has not served cannot command.
    • Meaning: One must have been controlled in the same situation one wishes to properly control others.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 758. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Qui parle trop, manque souvent.
    • Least said, soonest mended.
    • Meaning: “In private animosities and verbal contentions, where angry passions are apt to rise, and irritating, if not profane expressions are often made use of, as we sometimes see to be the case, not only among neighbors, but in families, between husbands and wives, or parents and children, or the children themselves and other members of the household, – the least said, the better in general. By multiplying words, cases often grow worse instead of better.”
    • Source for meaning of Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order …. Munroe and Company. pp. 125.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 53.
  • Qui parle trop, personne ne l’écoute.
    • Who talks too much, nobody listens to.
    • Length begets loathing.
    • Meaning: “Nobody likes a long-winded speaker or writer.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 33.
  • Qui s’attend à l’accueil d’autrui, a souvent mal dîné.
    • Who expects the bowl of others makes a poor dinner.
    • He that waits on another man’s trencher, makes many a late dinner.
    • Meaning: Waiting for others requires a very long time.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 55.
  • Qui se détourne évite le danger.
    • Better finger off as ay wagging.
    • “Better put an end to a troublesome business than to be always vex’d with it.”
    • James Kelly (1818). A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs Explained and Made Intelligible to the English Reader. Rodwell and Martin. p. 35.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 11.
  • Qui se resemble, s’assemble.
    • Like will to like.
    • “Every man loves well what is like to himself.”
    • Folk-Etymology. Ardent Media. 1886. p. 216.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 51.
  • Qui sème peu, peu récolte.
    • Sow thin, shear thin.
    • “Rest is a necessity, not an objective. It is better to aim the spear at the moon and strike the eagle, than to aim at the eagle and strike only a rock.”
    • Jim Rohn, The Five Major Pieces To The LIfe Puzzle (1991)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1158. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Qui s’excuse, s’accuse.
    • Who makes excuses, himself accuses; or He who excuses himself accuses himself.
    • Gabriel Meurier, Trésor des Sentences; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 196.
  • Qui trop embrasse mal étreint.
    • Grasp all, lose all.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 23. ISBN 0415160502.
  • Qui se croit sage est un grand fou.
    • The first chapter of fools is to think themselves wise.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Qui se fait brebis, le loup le mange.
    • He that makes himself an ass must not take it ill if men ride him.
    • Meaning: Other people will abuse you, if you let them.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 676. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Qui sème le vent, récolte la tempête.
    • Translation 1: As you sow, so you shall reap.
    • Translation 2: He who sows the wind shall reap the storm.
    • Meaning: Your actions all have consequences.
    • Source: Cassagne, Jean-Marie (1998). 101 French proverbs: understanding French language and culture through common sayings. McGraw-Hill. p. 106. ISBN 0844212911.
  • Qui veut plaire à tout le monde doit se lever de bonne heure.
    • He had need rise early who would please everybody.
    • Meaning: “It is impossible to do something that everybody will approve of.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 313. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Caroline Ward (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 43.
  • Qui vole un œuf vole un bœuf.
    • He who steals an egg will steal an ox.
    • In for a penny, in for a pound.
    • Meaning a person that steals something little/done something bad/ will probably end up steeling more valuable things/as a criminal.
    • Bulman, F. (1998). Dictionnaire Des Proverbes Anglais-Francais, Francais-Anglais, Presses de l’Université Laval.
  • Qui n’avance pas, recule
    • Pronunciation:ki navɑ̃s pa ʁəkyl
    • Literal translation: Who does not move forward, recedes
    • English equivalent: Expect poison from stagnant water
  • Qui Vivra Verra
    • Pronunciation:ki vivʁa veʁa
    • Literal translation: Who will live will see
    • Origin: From the Italian Chi vivrà, vedrà
    • English equivalent: Wait and see
  • Rendre le bien pour le mal.
    • If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
    • Meaning: Make something good out of bad things that has happened to you.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 838. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Rejeter le bon et le mauvais.
    • To reject the good with the bad.
    • Throw out the baby with the bath (water).
    • Meaning: Do not reject an idea entirely because parts of it are bad; Someone who is absolutely right about parts of an idea, is surprisingly often wrong about another part of it.
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 25 August 2013.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 715. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Revenons à nos moutons.
    • Let us get back to our sheep.
    • Meaning: Let’s get back to what we were saying, doing.
    • La Farce de maître Pierre Pathelin, Act III., scene IV. (Translation by Le Juge; Fournier’s ed., 1872). Alternately reported as “Retournons à nos moutons”, François Rabelais, Pantagruel, III., 34; “Revenons à nos moutons”, Vincent Voiture, Epître à Mme. de Bambouillet, (Ed. Roux, p. 579.); Voltaire, Les Honnétetés Littéraires, Vol. VIII., p. 912; “Revenons a nos bouteilles”; Montaigne, Essais, II., 2, p. 17; “Revenons a nos soupers”; Jean Jacques Rousseau, La Nouvelle Heloïse, Pt. II, Lettre XVII. All are reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 200.
  • Sans deniers Georges ne chante.
    • You can’t get something for nothing.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs, Volym 1. Routledge. p. 799. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Sans tentation, il n’y a point de victoire.
    • Where there is no temptation there is no glory.
    • Without temptation there is no victory.
    • Meaning: Not being tempted is a sign that fortune has forgotten you.
    • Ward, Caroline (1842). National proverbs in the principal languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 156.
  • Santé passe richesse.
    • Good health is above wealth.
    • “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world-and loses his health?”
    • Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948)
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Se couper le nez pour faire dépit à son visage.
    • English equivalent: He cut off his nose to spite his face.
    • “Of all the passions, jealousy is that which exacts the hardest service and pays the bitterest wages.  Its service is to watch the success of our enemies; its wages to be sure of it.”
    • Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon (1825).
  • * Tallement des Réaux, Historiettes, Volume I, Chapter I (c. 1657–1659); reported as a proverb in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 639.
  • Si tu t’en fuis le, il te suivra, ce t’en fuiz, il s’en fuira. (old French)
    • Follow glory and it will flee, flee glory and it will follow thee.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 832. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Selon l’argent, la besogne.
    • What pay, such work.
    • You get what you pay for.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 494. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait.
    • Youth is wasted on the young.
    • If youth but knew, if old age but could.
    • Meaning: You people lack common sense and wisdom, old people lack virility.
    • Henri Estienne, Les Prémices, Epigramme CXCI; Marc Antoine Legrande, La Famille Extravagante, Divertissement (translation by Mme. Rissolé); both reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 208.
  • Si la montagne ne va pas à Mahomet, Mahomet ira à la montagne.
    • Translation and If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain.
    • Meaning: “If you cannot get what you want, you must adapt yourself to the circumstances or adopt a different approach.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs, Volym 1. Routledge. p. 1006. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Si le ciel tombait il y aurait bien des alouettes prises.
    • If the sky falls, we shall catch larks.
    • “The Lark is a lofty Bird, and foars perhaps as high as any of the Inhabitants of the airy Regions; and if there be no other way of coming at them, till the Sky falling down on their Heads beats them down into our Hands, we shall be little the better for ’em. This Proverb is ufually apply’d to Such Perfons who buoy themfelves up with vain Hopes, but in Embryo, ill conceived … to laft till their Accomplifhment.” says Mr. Bailey. He somewhat unpedagogically remarks that “A lark is better than a kite” for “a little which is good, is better than a great deal of that which is good for nothing.”
    • Divers Proverbs with Their Explication & Illustration, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [4]
    • Caroline Ward (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 65.
  • Si tous disent que tu es un âne, brais.
    • When all men say you are an ass it is time to bray.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1221. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Souvent on a coutume de baiser la main qu’on voudrait qui fût brûlée.
    • Many kiss the hand they wish cut off.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1084. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Tant crie l’on Noël, qu’il vient. (old French)
    • So much does one shout “Christmas” that at last it comes!
    • English equivalent: Long looked for comes at last
    • “Who says you do not pass the test?”
    • Selena Gomez, Beautiful (2011)
    • François Villon, Ballade des Proverbes; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 212.
  • Tant va la cruche à l’eau qu’enfin elle se brise.
    • Adrien de Montluc, Comedie de Proverbes, Act I, scene I (translation by Lidias); Molière, Le Festin de Pierre, Act V, scene II (translation by Sganarelle).
    • So often does the jug go to water that in the end it breaks.
    • Translation 1: Do not strain your luck.
    • Translation 2: Anyone can only take so much.
    • Alternately reported as Tant va pot à l’eve que brise., Pierre de St. Cloud, Roman du Benart, line 13,650; Jen qui trop dure ne vault rien, / Tant va le pot à l’eau qui brise., Charles d’Orléans, Rondel, XXXVII; Tant va le pot à l’eau qu’il brise. François Villon, Ballade des Proverbes; all reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 213.
  • Tel maître, tel valet.
    • Like master, like man.
    • Meaning: You will become like the people you surround yourself with.
    • If you surround yourself with wolves you will howl like them.
    • Attributed to Bayard; compare Tel valet, tel maitre (“Like master, like man”), Collin d’Harleville, Les Chateaux en Espagne, Act I, Scene VIII (translation by M. D’Orlange); both reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 213.
  • Tel père, tel fils.
    • Such father, such sons.
    • Like father, like son.
    • Meaning: Sons may look and behave like their fathers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and daily.
    • Source for meaning and proverb: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 137. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
  • Telle mère, telle fille.
    • Such mother, such daughter.
    • Like mother, like daughter.
    • Meaning: Daughters may look and behave like their mothers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and rarely.
    • Source for meaning and proverb: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 137. ISBN 1-875943-44-7.
  • Tirer les marrons de la patte du chat.
    • To pull the chestnuts from the fire with the cat’s paw.
    • Molière, L’Étourdi, Act III. 6; reported as a proverb in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 643.
  • Tout ce qui branle ne tombe pas.
    • Bitter pills may have blessed effects.
    • “Present afflictions may tend to our future good.”
    • James Kelly (1818). A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs Explained and Made Intelligible to the English Reader. Rodwell and Martin. p. 43.
    • Caroline Ward (1842). National Proverbs in the Principal Languages of Europe. J.W. Parker. p. 11.
  • Tout chemin mène à Rome.
    • All roads lead to Rome.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 10.
  • Tout est bien que finit bien.
    • All is well that ends well.
    • “Problems and misfortunes along the way can be forgotten as long as the end is satisfactory.”
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 7.
  • Tout homme qui a compagnon d’office à un Maître.
    • English equivalent: He that hath a fellow ruler, hath a fellow over-ruler.
    • “One is always wrong to open a conversation with the devil, for, however he goes about it, he always insists on having the last word.”
    • André Gide, Journals 1889–1949, (1917) translated by Justin O’Brien
    • Guy Miège (1677). A new dictionary, french and english. Basset. p. 832.
  • Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre.
    • All things come to those who can wait.
    • Every dog has his day.
    • François Rabelais, Pantagruel, IV, 48; Adrien de Montluc, La Comedie de Proverbes, Act I, scene VII (translation by Florinde); Henri Estienne, Les Prémices, Epigramme 37; compare Attendez l’heure du berger; Tout vient à tems qui peut attendre (“Wait ye the shepherd’s hour; All comes in time to him who waits”), Bussy Babutin, Histoire Amoureuse des Gaules, Maximes d’Amour, (Ed. Cologne, 1716), p. 192); all reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 222.
  • Trop enquérir n’est pas bon.
    • Inquiring is not good.
    • Curiosity killed the cat.
    • Meaning: “Inquisitiveness – or a desire to find about something – can lead you into trouble.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 9 August 2013.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 684. ISBN 0415096243.
  • Un clou chasse l’autre.
    • One nail drives out another.
    • “As one nail by strength drives out another
      , So the remembrance of my former love
      Is by a newer object quite forgotten.”
    • William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (1592)
    • Marc Antoine Legrand, La Famille ExtravaganteDivertissement, (translation by St. Germain); reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 225.
  • Un jour sans vin est comme un jour sans soleil.
    • A day without wine is like a day without sunshine.
    • Source: “L’emprise du sens”, page 303, 1999 Mark Plénat.
  • Un mal et un péril ne vient jamais seul.
    • Philippe de Commines, Mémoires, Livre III, Chapter V; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 229.
    • Variant: Un malheur n’arrive jamais seul.
    • Molière, L’Amant Médecin, Act I, scene I (translation by Sganarelle).
    • Un malheur nous est toujours l’avant-coureur d’un autre.
    • Molière, Les Fourberies de Scapin, Act III, scene VII (translation by Geronte).
    • Misery loves company.
  • Un peu d’aide fait grand bien.
    • Every little helps.
    • “All contributions, however small, are of use.”
    • Source for meaning of Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 20 September 2013.
    • Source for proverbs: Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 26.
  • Un point fait à temps en sauve cent.
    • A stitch in time saves nine.
    • “No one needs to be told that a vast deal of labor is expended unnecessarily. This is occasioned, to a great extent, by the neglect of seasonable repairs.”
    • Source for meaning:Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order …. Munroe and Company. p. 13.
    • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 6.
  • Un tiens vaut, ce dit-on, mieux que deux tu l’auras.
    • A bird in hand is worth two in a bush.
    • “Something you have for certain now is of more value than something better you may get, especially if you risk losing what you have in order to get it.”
    • Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5.
    • Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, V, 3, “Le Petit Poisson et le Pecheur”; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 231. Alternately reported as Un tient vaut mieux que deux tu l’auras.
  • Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps.
    • A swallow doesn’t make the summer.
    • “The right way of Judging of Things is not from Particulars, but Univerſals.”
    • Divers Proverbs, Nathan Bailey, 1721 [5]
    • Source: Cassagne, Jean-Marie (1998). 101 French proverbs: understanding French language and culture through common sayings. McGraw-Hill. p. 240. ISBN 0844212911.
  • Ventre affamé n’a point d’oreilles.
    • Words are wasted on a starving man.
    • The hungry belly has no ears.
    • Rabelais, Pantagruel, III, 15; reported in Thomas Benfield Harbottle and Philip Hugh Dalbiac, Dictionary of Quotations (French and Italian) (1904), p. 234.
  • Vive la différence.
    • Long live the difference (between the sexes, or any difference).
    • Hooray for the difference!
    • Source: Vive la différence, Béatrice Levasseur, P. J.. Downes 1988.
  • Vouloir, c’est pouvoir.
    • Where there’s a will there’s a way.
    • To want to is to be able to.
    • Source: “Vouloir c’est pouvoir”, Ivan Steenhout 1985.

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